ANOTHER day heralded a new milestone for Luca Railton who stretched his legs in the sea for the first time since moving to Florida and following three painful leg operations.
After walking with his feet flat on the ground for the first time last month, the 10-year-old Cricklade boy, who was born with no bone in his right knee, no right tibia and only a partial left tibia due to a rare condition called bilateral tibial hemimelia, took his first dip at the swimming pool.
Last week saw him push himself a little further, braving the brisk waves of the Atlantic Ocean, delighting his parents, Alex and Teresa.
“Another amazing day where Luca started off with a great physio session with Dayle his PT; then we headed over to the beach and Luca surprised us with the request to go in the sea,” Teresa announced to friends and family on social media.
“This is the first time Luca went in to the ocean since arriving on March 19.
“I was so nervous about him going in as there is always a risk of him getting an infection. However I came prepared with saline to soak the pin sites after coming out of the sea.
“What a fantastic day it was. This is what life is all about, seeing our boy get stronger each day and to feel proud that he faced his fears and went into the sea even when in pain from the lengthening.”
On July 2, Luca underwent a third operation to break his right leg and start lengthening his femur.
Each day his parents must turn the struts placed in their son’s leg to allow the bone to grow.
But this is far from the end of the line for Luca who is preparing for a fourth operation in September.
Speaking about the difficult months that lay ahead for her son, Teresa said: “The final op will be around the end of September when the frame is removed from Luca’s right leg.
“He will then be put in a cast for a month, so that the wounds from the frame completely heal.
“Once removed he will have a further month of physio and after this will be coming home. So fingers crossed we will be home by Christmas. The plan from then on is to come back yearly for check-ups and until such time when he needs surgery again.
“Unfortunately this is not the end for Luca and his operations, we can’t put a number on how many more because it all depends on how he grows.”
In February 2013, the Railtons were told by NHS doctors they would have no other option but to amputate his right leg or fuse it straight. But American surgeon Dr Dror Paley told the family he could save Luca’s leg.
Teresa and Alex have raised nearly £100,000 of the £135,000 needed for the operations.