Barlick tot turns two as operation fund grows

Oliver Rushton (2) who suffers from spastic diplegia who's parents are trying to raise funds for an operation for him.
Oliver Rushton (2) who suffers from spastic diplegia who's parents are trying to raise funds for an operation for him.

Fundraising efforts to secure a life changing operation for a Barnoldswick toddler have passed the halfway mark.

Adam and Helen Rushton, parents of Oliver, who has just celebrated his second birthday, have raised £13,000 so far of the £25,000 needed for the specialist spinal procedure.

Oliver suffers with spastic diplegia, a form of cerebral palsy, and cannot stand up or walk independently as his leg muscles are constantly tight due to confused signals sent from his brain to his legs.

The Rushtons, who live on Carr Road, have been fundraising since August last year so that the two-year-old tot can undergo the operation which would enable him to walk. The couple hope Oliver can have the operation he needs this year.

At the moment, Oliver can get around in the form of an unconventional crawl, but requires a walker to aid his mobility and he wears splints on his legs.

The process he needs is called Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy where deficient nerves in the spine are cut. If carried out now, it would allow his bones to develop correctly because the stiffness in his leg muscles would be released.

The operation is currently available at just four UK hospitals and a trip to the USA for treatment has not been ruled out.

Helen said: “Oliver has been referred to Leeds hospital to be assessed but we are still undecided whether to have the operation in the UK or America.

“We’re optimistic he can have it done this year. The earliest it can be done is two so he is at the right age.

“Cerebral Palsy does cause discomfort so if we can take that away from him and reduce the chance of orthopaedic surgery in later life that would be brilliant.”

Just under half the money was generated with a popular race night at Rolls-Royce and other significant amounts of money have contributed too including £1,600 from a rock and roll hair event at Halo salon and £800 from a bake-off At Burnley Hospital where Helen works.

Helen added: “We have done fantastic to raise £13,000 since the end of August. The race night at Rolls-Royce went really well and we raised £6,000. We have got a ball planned and Adam is doing the Great North Run and the Yorkshire Three Peaks.

“I also know customers and staff at the Greyhound pub are doing the Skipton triathlon and Skipton Young Farmers are going to do an ‘It’s a Knockout’ event in the summer.

“The support has been unbelievable. I would like to thank people for their generosity. It was a massive shock when it was first diagnosed but we have to give him the best life we can now.”

Anybody wanting to find out more can contact Helen via The Oliver Rushton Fund has also been set up at Lloyds TSB if you wish to donate. The details are: Account Number: 13689468, Sort Code: 77-76-17.