AN OPERATION to change the life of a five-year-old boy from Earby is to go ahead in May.
Robin Carter suffers from a form of cerebral palsy and will have the selective dorsal rhizotomy operation on May 16th at St Louis Children’s Hospital, Missouri.
But at a cost of £45,000 and £35,000 still to find, his family has issued a big plea to West Craven residents to help them on their way.
Mum Natalie, who has been leading fund-raising since October, said: “This is really happening and I can’t explain what is going through my head right now. Fund-raising is the top priority so if there is any ideas out there please get in touch.”
Robin has spastic diplegia, the result of brain damage caused when he was born eight weeks prematurely. The condition means the muscles in his lower body are very stiff and tight.
He uses a special “crocodile” walking frame to move around and a wheelchair for longer distances.
Every day, he has to endure gruelling physiotherapy to stretch his leg muscles and wears painful braces in bed.
The treatment, for which Robin was selected as an ideal candidate, is only available to some families at the Missouri hospital as funding on the NHS has been refused by East Lancashire Primary Care Trust.
The next big fund-raising event on the calendar is an evening of entertainment at Rolls-Royce Leisure on February 12th. Local band Total Wrex will take to the stage, along with singing group Diva Dynamics. There will also be a raffle with some top prizes up for grabs including holiday vouchers from the Hoseasons Group, a signed Manchester United football and spa days.
The fund-raising group will also run a cake stall at the Rainhall Centre’s Health and Wellbeing Fair tomorrow and are planning to take over the centre’s cafe for a day in February.
Robin is also set to meet up with Silsden youngster Evan Whitton, who is currently having the same operation at the same hospital.
Natalie said: “It will be good for Robin to be able to speak to him because he does have some worries about the operation, but Evan will have been through it all by then, so he can put him mind at ease.”
She explained why the operation will mean so much for the Carter family.
“It means everything and changes everything. It will change his entire future and give him a chance to live a pain-free adult life and have all the things he deserves.
“Little things we take for granted like that he’s never been able to buy new shoes like his brother and sister because he has to wear special boots. He’s never been able to wear wellies because they won’t fit over his boots, so just to be able to splash in puddles like any other little boy.
“He’s been so brave, I don’t know how he puts up with it all.”
And Mum Natalie said she is looking forward to be able to snuggle up to Robin when she puts him to bed.
“The braces he wears at night come up to his thighs so it’s hard to just curl him up and have a good cuddle.”
Robin said: “It hurts a lot now and I want to be able to play football with my friends and tackle rugby.”
Following the operation Robin will continue to have intense physiotherapy for 12 months to strengthen muscles in his legs that he has hardly used.
After that he will still continue to have some physiotherapy but nothing as painful or extensive as what he currently has.
Natalie added: “Hopefully by the time he is a teenager it will all be a distant memory.
“Thank you to everyone who has helped us, every little bit is so kind. I don’t think people fully realise just how much difference this is going to make to Robin’s life.”
Tickets for the evening of entertainment are £10 each and available from Rolls-Royce Leisure or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org