Funding plea to help Kai to walk

Kai Hodgkinson with mum Caron.
Kai Hodgkinson with mum Caron.
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A MUM has launched a desperate campaign to raise £60,000 so her son can travel to America for pioneering treatment to help him walk.

Three year old Kai Hodgkinson was born with diaplegic spastic cerebral palsy and despite doctors telling his parents he would never walk, the plucky tot beat all the odds and took his first steps last year.

But his condition means Kai is unable to fully straighten his legs so is unable to walk unaided.

His determination to try however means he has been left covered in bumps and bruises and often bursts into tears of frustration.

Now his mother, Caron, has pledged to raise £60,000 so she can fly her son to America for life-changing surgery.

The operation – called Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy – will involve stimulating the nerves in his spinal cord to hopefully allow him to straighten his legs.

And being able to play out with his older brothers would mean the world to the tot.

Caron, 32, of Hesketh Place, said: “It is heartbreaking to see Kai struggling to walk, I’m desperate to give him the chance to lead a normal life.

“He battled to walk when doctors said he probably never would, now I am determined to do all I can to raise the money needed.”

The surgery is available on the NHS in a few hospitals, but is not usually offered to patients until they are aged at least six.

But St Louis Hospital in Missouri will operate on children as young as two. Mrs Hodgkinson says research suggests the success rate is higher in young children.

Doctors in this country suggested Kai undergo Botox treatment and extensive physiotherapy, but Caron added: “It seems cruel to put him through gruelling physio and having his legs in plaster for weeks at a time for what will be a temporary solution.

“He gets so upset at falling over all the time and having to walk with a frame.

“Kai is due to start nursery this week and I’d love him to have the surgery before he starts school.

“The surgeon in America has been doing this operation for 20 years, I just hope the public will support us.”

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said: “Due to the individual nature of cerebral palsy some children will benefit from specific treatments and therapies, others will not.

“The latest evidence suggests that treatment can improve spasticity in the longer term. However, the operation still carries some serious risks, such as harm to bladder function and walking ability. This operation is not a cure and prolonged physiotherapy and aftercare may be necessary.”

Mrs Hodgkinson hopes to raise the funds by September. She has already set up a Facebook page and an online auction. If you can help call (01253) 871176.