Brave Joseph Hill walks tall after St Louis trip

Joseph Hill who has cerebral palsy, is pictured after his operation which enables him to walk unaided, High Green , Wakefield..(SH1001/73b) 22nd December 2013.Picture by Simon Hulme
Joseph Hill who has cerebral palsy, is pictured after his operation which enables him to walk unaided, High Green , Wakefield..(SH1001/73b) 22nd December 2013.Picture by Simon Hulme
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Joseph Hill, who has cerebral palsy, has travelled all the way to St Louis, in America, for keyhole surgery to help loosen muscles in his legs in a bid to help him stand up straight.

The successful operation followed an earlier procedure at Leeds General Infirmary in October 2013 – and both were paid for through the nationwide Stepping Forward for Joseph £40,000 fundraising campaign.

Joseph’s family had been forced to raise the cash for the initial operation themselves after NHS rules changed and they faced paying for the surgery, which had previously been done for free.

They also faced a race against time as Joseph needed the operation while he was still young enough.

The youngster could only walk a few paces and needed a wheelchair before he underwent the first pioneering surgery in Leeds.

After initially making good progress, muscular issues meant Joseph needed more than just physiotherapy, but long waiting lists in the UK meant the family opted to travel abroad for surgery in November.

His mum Angela, from Hall Green, said: “It’s absolutely amazing how well he has done since St Louis.

“He’s just a different boy, he’s got a whole new lease of life.

“He can do it now, he doesn’t have the restraints of a walking frame. He gets his crutches and he’s off.”

She said that Joseph’s quick progress has meant he is now able to walk around the house unaided and can stand up from being sat down without needing his frame for support.

Within days of the US surgery, Joseph was up on his feet.

The Dane Royd J&I pupil is now continuing an intensive physiotherapy programme, has started horse riding to improve his core strength and has even joined a football team.

The majority of the funds raised through the Stepping Forward for Joseph campaign have been spent on the two operations as well as ongoing physiotherapy sessions to prevent the youngster’s muscles seizing up.

Despite using a walking frame less than two years ago, Joseph wants to take part in the Junior Great North Run in September.

His mum added: “He’s got more determination and enthusiasm to get up now.”

For information on the campaign or to make a donation, visit www.justgiving.com/steppingforwardforjoseph.