£25,000 appeal to help Barnoldswick tot Oliver walk

Oliver Rushton

Oliver Rushton

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The parents of a Barnoldswick baby have appealed for funding help so their 19-month-old boy can undergo a “life changing” operation.

Helen Rushton (33) and her husband Adam (30), of Carr Road, need to raise £25,000 so their son Oliver, who has cerebral palsy, can have the operation he needs.

Oliver suffers specifically from spastic diplegia, meaning the muscles in his legs are constantly tight and the signals his brain sends to his legs are confused.

Consequently, he has difficulty with balance and is unable to stand or walk independently, so needs a walker to aid his mobility and wears splints on his legs. He gets around by crawling in an unconventional “commando” style using his arms.

The operation Oliver requires is Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy, where the faulty nerves in the spinal cord are cut, which would enable him to walk, but it is a process only done at four UK hospitals.

Helen said: “Oliver can’t stand or walk independently and it also affects his balance. He needs supervision all the time.

“They say it is more of a constant condition rather than a progressive one but it could affect his bones when he gets a bit older.

“The operation would prevent this.

“We were devastated when we learned of Oliver’s condition. It blows your world apart. You have a normal pregnancy, everything is wonderful and you have a lovely child. It took us a while to come to terms with it.

“I suspected something was wrong when Oliver was late sitting at around nine months but it was in April this year when he was officially diagnosed.”

The couple received a boost over the August Bank Holiday weekend when Halo Salon in Barnoldswick raised £1,600 at a fund-raising “Hair Rock and Roll” event.

Plans for a race night organised by and held at Rolls-Royce Leisure Club, and a winter ball in January, are already underway as the long fund-raising bid continues. Adam is also planning to climb the Yorkshire Three Peaks next year.

Helen added: “We are astounded by the amount raised and are grateful to Alyson at Halo and everybody else for their generosity in helping Oliver.

“Barnoldswick is a small town and words soon spreads. It’s been amazing how people have wanted to help.”

Anybody wishing to help should email helenrushtonmidwife@yahoo.com.