Barlick toddler takes giant leap with first unaided steps

Helen Rushton and her son Oliver, pictured in Barnoldswick as he makes his first steps after surgery.
Helen Rushton and her son Oliver, pictured in Barnoldswick as he makes his first steps after surgery.

A Barnoldswick toddler has taken his first independent steps after undergoing a life-changing operation in the summer.

Two-year-old Oliver Rushton, of Carr Road, has been seen walking hand in hand with mum Helen in Barnoldswick this week, and took the momentous move to go it alone on Wednesday night.

His parents are delighted and in no doubt they made the right choice in having the surgery done.

Oliver underwent the six hour specialist Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy procedure in Leeds in August, becoming the youngest person in the UK to have the operation.

He amazed hospital staff by playing as normal just three days later and has dazzled his parents Helen and Adam with his progress.

The Rushtons have been to London this month to pick up some custom made splints as Oliver enters an 18-month period of rehabilitation. His next visit to Leeds for assessment will be in December.

It was hoped Oliver would take his first unaided steps before Christmas but mum Helen says she is excited about his progress ahead of schedule.

Helen said: “We’re over the moon. He just said ‘I walk to mummy’ and he just went. He’s a bit wobbly but we can work on that. Oliver’s gone to nursery this morning saying he’s going to show the girls how he can walk so it’s not taken him long!

“He’s doing really well. He’s having physio four times a week but he’s taken it in his stride as he does. It’s intense physio that we need to keep going with.

“The operation seems to have given him a new lease of life. We had our first independent standing in physio on Tuesday morning.

“They had said December, but I thought it would be before then. It’s now a case of working on confidence and balance.”