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Please help Harvey walk
FOR Natalie and Nick Young their ultimate dream is seeing their precious son wearing wellies and splashing about in puddles with his friends.
It’s a simple pleasure that many parents take for granted.
Three-year-old Harvey suffers from spastic diplegia, a form of cerebral palsy, which means he has never taken a step.
But the youngster’s future could be dramatically transformed in June with a lifechanging operation called a Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy at St Louis Children’s Hospital in Missouri, America.
However the operation which will reduce tightness in his leg muscles and allow him to walk, comes at a cost – £50,000.
Today his parents have embarked on a fundraising drive and are appealing to Daily Echo readers to help Harvey.
Mum Natalie, duty manager at The Quays Swimming and Diving Complex in Southampton, said: “It would mean the world if Harvey could do simple things like jump in puddles, walk up the stairs on his own or walk around the house.
“I think he’s getting to the age where he’s starting to realise other children are doing things quicker than he can and it’s very frustrating.”
The 34-year-old, added: “For Harvey to walk would just be overwhelming. It would take us back to those first 12 months of his life when you are looking forward to developments.”
Harvey, who was six weeks premature, was diagnosed with spastic diplegia at 15 months after he had an MRI scan following concerns raised at an eye test.
He wears specialist shoes and gets about with a frame with wheels and wears a special blue suit to restrict his movement and build his muscles as he moves.
Dad Nick, 38, who works as an engineer for Whiteley firm NATS (National Air Traffic Services), said: “When we were first told of things like wheelchairs, help for the rest of his life, not mainstream schooling, it was terrifying. You instantly picture his whole life and become aware of just how hard it will get for him. But now there is hope.”
The NHS do offer the operations from the age of four but Natalie said Hampshire PCT are currently not giving any funding for it and fears the family may go through all the assessments and get turned down at the end.
She said: “We were told there is no guarantee of being approved for the operation even after all the assessments. We want to make sure he has the operation, and as quickly as possible, because the older he gets the more developed his leg muscles will become making it more difficult for him to walk.”
The couple, who live in Titchfield Park, received a letter from the American hospital confirming Harvey will be able to walk in all environments.
Tears welling in her eyes Natalie, said: “I just cried when we got that, it’s so overwhelming. We’d have a Harvey walking party, it would be such a big thing for us. I’d be ecstatic. You just can’t imagine it.”
- To get involved in fundraising for Harvey or to see the events taking place across the county go to help4harvey.co.uk.
Spastic diplegia is the most common type of cerebral palsy and its symptoms normally become apparent in the first three years of a child’s life.
It’s estimated that as many as one in every 400 children may have cerebral palsy, which means nearly 2,000 babies are diagnosed every year.
Children with spastic diplegia experience muscle stiffness in their legs.
This may cause difficulty walking and they may need aids such as leg braces or a walking frame. Communication skills and intelligence are normally unaffected.