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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.