RECOVERY has been difficult following a major operation for one-in-a-million Luca Railton, but the prospect of soon being able to take his first steps without callipers is keeping his morale up.
The 10-year-old, who a few months ago faced having his left leg amputated, flew to Florida last month with his family after a fundraising campaign to cover the cost of £135,000 life-changing surgery to allow him to walk, which took place on March 27.
The appeal came slightly short of the target but donations have continued to pour in for Luca, with £91,500 collected so far.
The Cricklade Prior Park School pupil 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, which affects one in a million people.
He had undergone more than 60 hours of surgery before this latest procedure to allow him to walk with the aid of leg supports.
Although the pain has slightly subsided since the procedure took place on March 27, every day remains a challenge for Luca, whose left foot is still constantly aching.
Yet the strong-minded boy is not allowing himself to be defeated by the pain and instead is enjoying the days spent in the Florida sunshine.
“I’m really well and recovering quickly apart from the pain in my left foot (the leg with the cast on),“ he told family and friends on the Help Luca Walk Facebook page.
“It’s because I’m sat down all the time, my hamstrings get tight which causes my foot to cramp and hurt. But I’m having physio every day at the hospital and at home, and my mum and dad are constantly feeding me so that I keep strong.
“I don’t mind the physio as it will help me when I start walking again, which I hope will be next week.
“Thank you for thinking about me and I wanted to let you know that I am okay and happy.”
Last year doctors in Oxford explained there was no more they could do for Luca, and they would have to either amputate or fuse his right leg straight.
However, Dr Dror Paley, an American surgeon who has treated more than 200 patients with Luca’s condition, agreed to perform a pioneering operation on his legs to allow him to walk pain-free and without a frame.
Luca’s mother Teresa told her Facebook followers Luca had been a model of resilience and courage.
“Luca had X-rays on Monday to reveal that there is still a bit more healing around the ankles until he can start walking again,” she said. “He has also been suffering with pain in his left foot which they discovered is due to the nerves in his legs feet waking up.
“So he is experiencing pins and needles as if he had slept funny on his leg – like a dead leg – but 10 times worse. In time the pain will go, so we are praying it will happen soon. Other than that all is good and Luca when not in pain is happy. He is one brave kid.”
- To make a donation to the Help Luca Walk appeal visit www.facebook.com/lucarailton