'˜Only upwards' for little Alex who can stand for first time after life-changing surgery
Standing up is something most of us never give a second thought.
But for one six-year-old boy, it is a major milestone.
Alex Craven, who has Spastic Diplegic Cerebral Palsy, is on a long journey towards being able to take his very first steps, without assistance. And after a life-changing operation in the United States, he is one stage closer to achieving his aim.
His mum Sarah said: “Before surgery, if he tried to stand up his legs would collapse under him. He is now able to stand and take some weight on his legs, whilst holding on to something. It’s a major achievement.
“It was an amazing feeling and just to see the smile on his face as he did it was priceless.”
Young Alex was diagnosed at just nine months old. His Cerebral Palsy caused muscle stiffness and meant he could not put his feet flat on the floor, straighten his legs or even wiggle his toes.
He was unable to sit, roll, stand or walk on his own.
Around two years ago, Alex’s family set up the Alex Craven Fund and set about raising money for Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy surgery in America, knowing it could help him to walk independently for the first time.
With the support of the community, they raised the £60,000 needed to cover the costs of the procedure and travel. And Alex underwent the operation, as well as another procedure to lengthen his hamstrings, in July.
Several intensive physiotherapy sessions followed, before the family returned to the UK at the end of August. And now, it’s home and hospital physio sessions as well as regular trips to see a specialist personal trainer in Wales, for the foreseeable future.
The family do not know how long it could take before Alex takes his first steps and walks unaided, but they will continue fundraising to help pay for his aftercare.
Mrs Craven said: “He is getting more confident now and is more determined than ever as he starts to see results.
“We appreciate everybody’s support over the last two years. There’s no way that we would have been able to afford the surgery without their help.
“Alex is doing things now he has never done before - and it’s only going to get better.”