This is Charlie. He is a loving, lively and cheeky 6 year old boy. He entered the world 9 weeks early in June 2007. At that point we did not realise the challenges that lay ahead for this wee lad. Challenges no child or family should have to face in an ideal world. At 14 months old, Charlie was diagnosed with diaplegic cerebral palsy and we were told he would probably never walk. Words cannot describe how devastating this is for a parent. We had 2 choices, except this news or dedicate ourselves to a daily physiotherapy plan to ensure Charlie's mobility could be given the best chance. We did the later and through hard work Charlie now uses a Kaye Walker (no relation!) to get about over short distances and for longer distances he uses a therapy bike or a wheelchair. He enjoys many sports and activities but he has now reached a crossroads in his life where we need some other intervention to help him maintain his mobility and improve his quality of life. This comes in the form of a significant operation called Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR). This operation is only available in a few centres in the UK, Bristol being one of those and the main centre of excellence being Louisana USA. It is specifically for children like Charlie who have very tight rigid muscles in lower limbs. This affects his balance and ability to walk and the goal is to permanently reduce this tightness in the child's leg muscles. This operation would improve lower limb movement and the control, dexterity, range and speed would all increase. Without this intervention Charlie's leg muscles will continue to tighten and this will more than likely mean Charlie will be confined to a wheelchair in later years.
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