The family of a young boy living with cerebral palsy are trying tirelessly to raise enough money for a rare operation which could help him to walk unaided.
Five-year-old Kyle Fitzgerald, Ireland, has been told that he is eligible to undergo Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) surgery – a rare kind of operation not available on the NHS.
The surgery, which involves cutting the roots of problematic nerves in the spinal cord, has been known to have significant benefits for people living with cerebral palsy – and Kyle’s family are worried that without it, the youngster might have to spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair.
Five weeks ago, Kyle’s father, Rory Fitzgerald, launched a fundraising appeal in an effort to piece together the £88,000 they will need for the operation.
So far, Mr Fitzgerald and his other sons, Jamie and Calum, have managed to raise £22,000 towards their cause.
Mr Fitzgerald said: “The surgery costs the guts of €100,000 (£88,000), so it’s a serious amount of money, but when you are presented with an opportunity to get him out of his wheelchair you have to go for it.
“People see a child in a wheelchair and think it’s just a physical thing with his legs but essentially it’s a brain injury which happened at birth.
“The motor signals that come from that part of the brain, they come down from the spinal cord and tell the legs what to do.
“What the surgery will do is go into the spinal cord, identify the misfiring nerves and it will permanently sever those nerves.
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