Life-changing operation for Barnoldswick tot

Little Oliver Rushton who suffers from spastic diplegia.'Photo Ben Parsons
Little Oliver Rushton who suffers from spastic diplegia.'Photo Ben Parsons

A BARNOLDSWICK tot has been assessed by medical experts and has got the green light for a life-changing operation.

Doctors at Leeds Hospital have said two-year-old Oliver Rushton can have the specialist spinal surgery called Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy to alleviate his spastic diplegia as he is now at the optimum age.

However, after delight at the news, Oliver’s parents Adam and Helen, who live on Carr Road, have been left disappointed as East Lancashire Primary Care Trust has declined to offer any funding assistance towards the costly operation at £25,000.

According to the Rushtons, this means the operation may take just that little bit longer, as funds raised since last August currently stand at just under £20,000.

But they may need £45,000 if the couple decide to head to the USA for the operation where the procedure has been an option for a longer period of time.

Tomorrow, Oliver will be mascot for Pendle Renegades Football Club’s game as day to day life for the toddler continues. Three members of the football team are running the London Marathon in April with the proceeds going to Oliver’s cause.

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

Helen said: “I was surprised as we really hoped the East Lancashire PCT would help fund the operation, especially for a child and one that would help improve a life.

“The spasticity in his legs is only going to get worse over time. There will be long term costs (to the NHS) of further orthopaedic surgery in later life and medication over the years.

“Not all children are suitable and Oliver has been deemed suitable which is fantastic. We’re optimistic he will have the operation this year, wherever it may be.

“We had a pop-up shop in Barnoldswick last week selling bric-a-brac and we made £1,260 which is absolutely brilliant. It’s only thanks to people supporting us that we have got so far so quickly.”

As well as the London Marathon help, other events coming up include a Coates Lane Primary School cake sale, a team of at least 10 are taking part in the Skipton Triathlon on April 14th and Silsden with Skipton Young Farmers are holding an “It’s a Knockout” fund-raiser in June.

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.