THE ORDEAL is not yet over for one-in-a-million Luca Railton, as the 10-year-old prepared for a further operation on his legs to allow him to walk, run and enjoy life like other boys his age.
The Cricklade schoolboy, who travelled to Florida with his family to receive life-changing surgery and save him from an amputation, was due to undergo a new procedure today – this time on his right leg.
Recovery initially proved difficult and Luca spent days in excruciating pain after the first operation on March 27.
But less than two weeks ago, Luca, 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, was able to take his first steps with the aid of a walker.
And more positive news followed last week.
Mum Teresa said: “Luca’s left knee has healed and as a result he is in a removable cast, which means he can fully bear weight with the cast on for now.
“We can remove it at night and in time the cast will go and maybe they will get him walking without a splint.”
His right leg was another matter altogether, as his father Alex discovered.
“At the hospital this morning Alex spoke to one of the surgeons about Luca’s right leg as the straightening we believed had reached its maximum and he was in pain,” said Teresa. “What came out of the discussion was that they had to remove four pins going through Luca's knee without any anaesthesia. We managed to calm Luca and once it was all over the surgeon talked him through why he had to do it. Luca nodded to say I understand. He is such a brave boy.”
Bilateral tibial hemimelia affects just one in a million people.
A few months ago, Luca was faced with the prospect of having his right leg amputated after NHS doctors in Oxford said they would have no other option but to do so or fuse his right leg straight.
But American surgeon Dr Dror Paley told the family he could save Luca’s leg.
His parents Teresa and Alex spent the following months raising the £135,000 needed for the operation. They have so far collected nearly £100,000.
Today’s operation will involve breaking his right leg.
“Luca’s next procedure involves breaking the right leg (the fibula) and refit the fixator so that the lengthening can begin on the leg,” added Teresa. “So up until then we have focused on keeping him strong, continuing with the physio and getting him up and walking.
“Luca remains in good spirits.”
l To make a donation visit http://www.helplucawalk.com