Haverhill parents launch fund-raising appeal to help their son learn to walk
The parents of a little boy with cerebral palsy have launched a fund-raising drive to provide him with the specialist equipment needed to help him learn to walk.
Donna and Rob Allen’s three-year-old son Brian was born by c-section at 28 weeks after it was found that his mum’s uterus had split.
Brian was born with bilateral bleeds on his brain and just over two years ago was diagnosed with mild bilateral spastic cerebral palsy, which mainly affects his legs.
Donna, 40, who lives in Haverhill with Rob, 49, said the hope was that Brian would one day have a special operation that corrected muscle spasticity by cutting the nerve rootlets in the spinal cord that were sending abnormal signals to the muscles.
Brian’s paediatrician, said Donna, had discounted that operation for now because of his age and the fact that he was too young to compute what the procedure would mean.
The couple, who also have three older sons, Curtis, 21, Alfie, 14 and CJ, 13, must now focus on improving the muscle strength in Brian’s legs by helping him to learn to walk.
But Donna said that because of his age he cannot get the costly equipment, such as a powered wheelchair and an upsee mobility harness (which is £315 alone), on the NHS.
And with Donna, who has balance issues and is registered as deaf, and Rob – who had to give up his job of 33 years in the horse racing industry in Newmarket to help care for his wife and Brian – unable to work, they set up a GoFundMe page to raise £1,500 for equipment.
Donna said: “We have to retrain his brain. The brain is not working properly and he’s not getting the right signals from his brain for the right movements.
“We have to show him these movements because they are not coming naturally to him.
“It’s about getting his legs moving like they should be moving but we have to teach him how to to do that.
“In the last year I’ve seen all this equipment and gadgets that will benefit him but it all comes at a great cost.
“He is still a three-year-old boy. He still thinks like a three-year-old boy. He is going to want to do those things that a boy does.”
More by this authorSteve Barton