THREE-year-old cerebral palsy sufferer Jayden-Vito Mazzotta-Drapper could take his very first steps unaided by the time he reaches primary school with the support of the people of Swindon.
Jayden, of Walcot, was diagnosed with spastic diplegia at the age of one, a muscle-stiffness which prevents him from standing on his legs or walking without the support of a frame.
Although frightened at the prospect of seeing their young son undergo major surgery, his increasing distress and discomfort prompted his parents Charlene Mazzotta and Jason Drapper to launch a Swindon-wide fundraising appeal to secure the £35,000 necessary to cover the cost of a life-changing operation to allow him to recover full use of his legs and the subsequent months of physiotherapy.
“We had been aware about the operation at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol but were unsure about it,” said Charlene, 30, who works for Wilkinson.
“It’s very scary. But as Jayden is getting older he’s becoming aware of all the things he can’t do. He goes to Goddard Park playgroup and he is seeing other children playing football or riding a bike, but he can’t.
“He starts to get upset and gets frustrated now, more so than before. It’s really having an impact on his life. Every child should be able to walk.”
She added: “They can’t perform the operation until he turns four, so it will give us to time to raise money.
“The operation costs £24,000 but we need around £35,000 to cover the months of therapy afterwards.”
The surgery, known as selective dorsal rhizotomy, involves cutting nerves in the lower spine responsible for muscle rigidity and lasts between four and five hours.
His older brother CJ, 11, who attends Covingham Park Primary, has been very proactive over the past few days, enlisting his school’s support to secure the funds.
Jayden has been faced with much adversity in his short life. As well as cerebral palsy, he suffered from posterior urethral valve disorder, the most common cause of bladder outlet obstruction in male newborns.
While still in his mother’s womb, Jayden’s urine backed up his kidneys, making his bladder expand. Thirty-two weeks into a difficult pregnancy, Charlene had to undergo surgery to allow doctors to place a shunt into his bladder and release urine.
At just three months old, the infant had one of his kidneys removed. He was expected to need dialysis by the time he turned two but has so far been able to avoid the treatment.
“Jayden deserves to walk,” added Charlene. “He is fun, loving, outgoing and very happy considering everything he’s going through. He is always trying and never gives up.”
To make a donation visit the The Jayden-Vito Fund Facebook group or go to www.justgiving.com/Charlene-Mazzotta.