A little boy with cerebral palsy is beginning the new year on his feet and free of pain after undergoing a life-changing operation funded by his family, friends and the local community.
In just nine months, more than £48,000 was raised so that four-year-old Theo Hunt, of Underwood, could have an operation to treat his spastic diplegia, known as Little’s Disease, which causes muscles to tighten and restricts mobility.
Theo travelled up to Leeds Children’s Hospital in November to undergo dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) surgery - an operation only performed by two surgeons in the UK - which was very successful and has transformed Theo’s life.
His mum, Melissa, said Theo was much happier as he was no longer suffering from pain and just three weeks after his surgery he took 72 steps on his own with splints on.
The 29-year-old added: “Theo is doing fantastically well - he’s actually further along than where he should be.
“His hands are better, his fine motor skills are better, he can stand unaided and he can even kneel up on one knee now.
“He said to me recently ‘my legs don’t feel as heavy now - they feel light’ and he is so much happier in himself.”
The fundraising began in February when funding for the surgery was withdrawn, and the £48,000 has not only paid for the SDR surgery to be done privately but will also pay for some of the physiotherapy to help his make as much progress as possible.
During the five-hour SDR surgery by Dr John Goodden, the spinal nerves causing Theo’s muscles to tighten were cut as this is the only permanent treatment for Little’s Disease.
Now he is home, Theo will have lots of physiotherapy including water therapy and horse-riding which is paid for by the rest of the money fundraised last year.
Melissa said that it had been heartbreaking to watch her son in hospital but that it had all been worth it.
“I am relieved he is starting the new year having had the operation.
“The improvements will take about six to twelve months but I am already so proud of him.
“I like to think he will walk but I don’t dare believe it.”