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Tristan from Coventry was born very suddenly 9 weeks too soon in 2009. Despite him being so early, he had a very straightforward stay on the Neonatal Unit and we were lucky to be home within 5 weeks. On our last day in hospital we were told that Tristan had Cerebral Palsy (CP).

CP causes stiffness in limbs and joints making it difficult for Tristan to walk, dress, go to the loo. We are lucky that he doesn’t have any additional and associated difficulties such as trouble speaking and eating. Meet him one and you will know this as he doesn’t stop talking and loves a good curry!

He is the most wonderful little boy. He never moans about going to appointments or doing his physio exercises, even if these means he misses out on playing with his friends. In 2013 we welcomed our second little boy. Tristan is wonderful with him. Proud and loving but also fiercely protective of his own toys when the littliest boy comes launching over!

CP is caused by damage to the brain meaning messages don’t through properly to the muscles. Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy is surgery on the spinal column where the nerves stopping the right messages getting from the brain can be identified and isolated. They then simply cut them, releasing almost all the stiffness (keeping some so the child can still stand up!). Intensive physio follows to teach those formally stiff, but actually quite weak, muscles to work in the right way. Tristan’s CP causes his groin muscle to be constantly ‘on’ meaning it is hard for him to walk correctly. As you can see from the picture, he can use a kaye walker (kind of like a backwards zimmer-frame!) but he struggles due him having to concentrate on relaxing his legs to move in a stepping motion, and remembering to keep his core muscles strong to hold him up. He falls quite frequently if we’re not there to catch him.
 It is not a magic cure, but he will give him increased freedom of movement and therefore the opportunity to learn to walk. If it simply helps him learn to dress himself or get on and off the loo it will be wonderful and worth it.

Should we go over the target or if we do not raise enough funds, or if they cannot be used for any other reason, the monies raised will go to Tree of Hope to assist other sick children.

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