George’s First Steps: Update

It’s been well over 2 years since our little George had his SDR operation in America so I thought it about time I brought you an update on his progress. For those not aware of the history of this story, George is my nephew’s 7-year-old son who has cerebral palsy and for whom in 2012 a massive fundraising bid took place in order to pay for this life-changing operation (full story at: http://wp.me/p1q0nb-iH  and on Facebook at Georges First Steps).

Since that operation life has been so much better for him and his parents: he goes to a normal school, gets into trouble like most children, even having letters sent home from the teacher because he’s been up to mischief; his reports are excellent, and his speech improving almost daily. He’s an intelligent, fun-loving boy, knows the name of everyone at the school and is popular with them all – especially the girls, who all love him to bits. He’s still the happy, smiling lad he always has been.

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I love my hot tub!

Even though the fundraising exceeded all hopes in the amount raised, donations still come in, not just of money. George loves the water but is unable to attend local swimming baths. When the Starlight Foundation, a charity who helps the families of seriously ill children, heard of his plight, they granted George’s wish by gifting and installing a hot tub at the family home. He loves it to bits, wanting to get in every day.

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And I love my new trike. Let go, Daddy!

He has made fantastic progress to date, far more independent and mobile in his wheelchair, and is absolutely thrilled with his new trike (the majority of the cost funded by Cerebra), but he was becoming increasingly marred by pain due to a dislocated hip which prevented him even wanting to do his daily exercises, which he normally enjoys. The decision was finally taken for him to undergo further extensive surgery to correct this problem. Thus, last month he was admitted to the Bristol Children’s Hospital. As you can imagine, this was a very tense and difficult time not only for him, but for his parents and the family.

As I live close to the hospital, George’s granny (my sister) and his great grandma (my mum), came to stay with me during this time so they could be on hand if needed, and to help during the day at the hospital to keep George occupied and to allow his parents some relief from the round-the-clock attendance at his bedside.

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The Spica Cast

The operation – a bi-lateral femoral which, as I understand, is the first to be performed at this hospital on a child with George’s condition – consisted of (and I warn this sounds horrendous!) breaking both his legs and removing bone which was then bolted to both hips to fix the dislocation and prevent future dislocation in the other one. One of his legs was slightly longer than the other so this has at the same time also corrected that problem. It was a long 7½ hour operation but totally successful. Four days later he was allowed to go home, taken the 120 miles by ambulance.

I can go home - Yay!

I can go home – Yay!

For the moment he is in a spica cast, so he’s not uncomfortable but misses his hot tub; he must not get the cast wet. He’s not in any pain and coping well following this, his third major operation.  It was hoped he would be able to return to school straightaway but this was not possible due to the fact he is not in his normal wheelchair and, understandably, the health and safety issues. As a treat, his mum took him to visit his classmates just before they broke for half-term; I gather they had lots of fun that day. In a few weeks’ time he will be back in Bristol to have the cast removed and intensive therapy for a week to get him mobile again, with the hope that having had this procedure done it will help him progress a lot quicker; the aim to have him walking on sticks in the not too distant future. We’re sure he will succeed; he is such a determined lad he will not give up trying.

So many get well cards from my school friends.

So many get well cards from my school friends.

Further surgery is on the cards next year when he goes back to St Louis for corrective eye surgery, and the physio and exercise will be an ongoing, permanent regime, but if it wasn’t for the kind generosity of so many people since his long journey began, none of this would have been possible.

George and his family are forever grateful to you all. Thank you.

 

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20 responses to “George’s First Steps: Update

  1. So lovely to read an update, Kit, thank you! After following little George’s story it’s been a while and I’m so glad that operation is over and he’s on the mend. That little lad has been through such a lot, but still he smiles! It warms the heart, truly.

    • Thanks, Linn. George is such an inspiration. He melts everyone’s heart with that smile. And he has his father’s sense of fun and humour, which helps enormously.

  2. He’s a very brave little man. I love his smile .

  3. George is one of the most inspiring little guys I’ve ever met. I love that he is so sweet amidst all this turmoil and pain. He loves the simple things in life, like water and trikes. 🙂 He’s had so much support and I hope it continues. I think we’ve all fallen a little (or a lot) in love with your George. Thanks for updating us, Kit!

    • I think everyone who meets George falls in love with him, Laurie. Not sure if it’s his smile, his infectious laugh or those lovely eyes of his. He’s been through so much, the poor little tyke, yet rarely complains.

  4. Yes, we have fallen in love with this brave little guy. And his family. He’s an inspiration to the world. Thank you so very much for the update. Give him an extra hug from his state side admirers.

    • He’s in for a lot of hugs next time I see him, Lavada. 🙂 His headmaster visited him on Tuesday and said he could return to school straightaway as he’s not in pain and the chair he has to use isn’t as awkward to maneouvre as they first thought. George was over the moon. He loves school. 🙂

  5. Kit, I am so glad you posted this. It’s not often that people get to see what comes of their donations. I’m so excited for George and so pleased he’s doing well. Best to you and your family. Hugs!

    • Hi, Stephanie. Without people’s donations he would never have come so far. Thought it only right and fair people should see his progress, plus everyone keeps asking how he’s doing. Hopefully in the not to distant future there will be even more successful news. Big hug and thanks to you and yours. xx 🙂

  6. What a cutie he is. His personality shines through in these pictures AND he looks happy even in the cast that has to be uncomfortable. What a blessing he’s been able to do so well and that so many people helped to make it happen. He’s adorable and I wish him all the best in his recovery. Jillian

    • He gets his bad days, like all of us, Jillian, but he always comes back with a smile and laugh. He’s certainly one tough little cookie who melts everyone’s heart. The world is a brighter place with that little lad in our lives, that’s for sure. 🙂

  7. Bless his little heart. He is such a trooper. I’m so pleased he is doing so well, but wish he didn’t have to go through what he does. Lovely photos, especially of his special and infectious smile. You rock, little George.

    • Rock he certainly does, Tricia. You ought to see him at the hospital reunion parties. Shall have to see if I can find the video on FB. A super trouper indeed! 🙂

  8. Thank you for the update, Kit. What a big brave heart he has. Sending the very best wishes for him and to you and your family. x

    • It’s been a pleasure bringing people up to date on his progress, Sue, but such a pity he’s had to ensure so much yet again. A big brave heart indeed. Hope all is well with you and yours x 🙂

  9. Your post brought tears to my eyes so glad he is doing well. What a fun loving child!! Wishing him the very best.

    • George loves fun and games, and has his father’s wicked sense of humour. A good job with all that little lad has to go through. He inspires us all and I shall certainly give him a big hug from you all when I next see him, Nancy. 🙂

  10. Valerie J. Patterson

    He’s an adorable lad, isn’t he? He’s all smiles! I do believe he’s enjoying life more than most healthy, ailment-free people do. He’s got the secret to joy, and I couldn’t help but smile at each of his photos, but I confess I teared up at the one in the hospital. So much for a young one to experience. God is good! 😛

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