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Leon's US op a big success
8:00am Friday 6th April 2012 in News
A TODDLER has been given a new lease of life after undergoing successful life-changing surgery in the USA.
Leon Wray, a two-year-old cerebral palsy sufferer, flew across the Atlantic with mum Kelly and dad Scott on February 15 to have the Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy operation.
It is believed the operation, which cut away nerve endings that did not work, will not only enable Leon to move freely, but also improve his speech.
The family returned home on March 23 after spending 32 days in the USA, as Leon underwent the £39,000 operation in a Missouri children’s hospital.
A long programme of physio and aftercare began days after, with Leon now needing to strengthen muscles in his legs.
While the operation will not cure his cerebral palsy, Leon’s quality of life has already improved drastically. Doctors say he will be able to walk unaided within a year.
On Monday, the cheeky chappy had a huge smile on his face as he crawled about the family home on Corran Way, South Ockendon.
He played with toy cars and bossed 12-year-old sister, Fiona around. He rode his bike, ate crisps and pulled himself up to stand, things he could not do before the operation.
Kelly, 30, said: “It’s absolutely fantastic. Not only has the operation been fantastic for his movement, what we have noticed is where his brain was focussing on the tightness of his muscles and on movement, he can now concentrate on speech and that has come on leaps and bounds.
“It’s like a new lease of life for him.
“Everyone who has seen him cannot believe the change in him. But he has got really cheeky!”
Since Leon was diagnosed with cerebral palsy in November 2010, the family have been raising funds for the operation.
In just eight months, they raised the bulk of the money necessary to fund the operation and aftercare.
Kelly added: “It’s been an emotional roller coaster. It’s absolutely fantastic my little boy can feel properly for the first time.
“I’m so grateful to everyone who donated, even just a pound or 50p means the world. It’s changed Leon’s life.”