Brave Castleford youngster to get operation to help him walk for the first time

Cameron Harper
Cameron Harper

Brave youngster Cameron Harper, who has cerebral palsy, will have an operation next week to help him walk for the first time.

The seven-year-old from Castleford has been told he will have the specialist Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy surgery (SDR)on Thursday, January 15.

His dad Paul, 34, said: “When we told Cameron about the operation he looked at us, smiled and just said: ‘I’m going to get my operation’.

“We’re all buzzing but a little bit nervous at the same time.

“At the end of the day our little boy is going to be going under the knife and he will be in theatre for five hours, so it’s taken some coming to terms with.”

Last January Cameron had tests at Leeds General Infirmary which confirmed he was an ideal candidate for SDR surgery, but the family was devastated when they were told in April that the £26,000 operation was no longer routinely available on the NHS.

The family launched a fundraising drive and raised £26,000 towards the £50,000 they needed for Cameron to have the operation in the United States.

Then they were given the good news that Cameron had been selected for NHS trials of SDR.

The money they raised has been used to buy Cameron a specially-adapted wheelchair and the rest will help pay for extensive rehabilitation and physiotherapy which the youngster will need after the operation.

Mr Harper added: “We are looking at two years’ rehabilitation and intensive physiotherapy sessions.

“If it goes well, Cameron will have a better chance of being pain free and being able to walk.

“It is going to help him either walk with an aid or, hopefully, without one.”

John Goodden, who will perform the surgery at Leeds General Infirmary, has travelled to St Louis in the United States to study the SDR technique.

He said: “Cameron is a lovely child who will get a huge benefit from SDR surgery.

“For Cameron, SDR will mean he will eventually be able to walk better and will improve his quality of life.”