5:00am Thursday 5th June 2014
By Katie Bond
CEREBRAL palsy sufferer Alycia Ellis is set to take her first steps today, a week after having a life-changing seven-hour operation.
The family of eight-year-old Alycia have been raising money to pay for a £50,000 selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) operation to help her walk unaided.
But because her condition had deteriorated so quickly, doctors said she would have to undergo multi-level surgery first.
The operation, which was carried out at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford last Thursday, took slightly longer than expected but went smoothly, and within days, Alycia impressed doctors when she was able to stand up straight for the first time.
And today, Alycia is hoping to achieve what seemed almost impossible several months ago, when she takes her first steps.
Mum Natasha, who works in logistics at RAF Brize Norton, said: “The operation went really, really well. It took over seven hours, so we did a lot of pacing up and down while we were waiting. We were feeling very nervous and anxious.
“To see her standing up straight was just so overwhelming, I’ve obviously never seen her like it before so it was just incredible.
“She was so happy, she stood there smiling. She’s now hoping to take her first steps, which will be an unbelievable feeling.
“She’ll need to use a walker to begin with because it’s such unfamiliar territory for her to walk unaided, but it will be unbelievable to see.”
The complex surgery involved 14 procedures, including snapping tendons, bone lengthening and knee cap shortening.
Although Alycia has now undergone the surgery, she will still need the SDR operation but this can only be done a year later, after her progress has been monitored.
So far, the family have raised £33,000 and need to raise a further £17,000 to pay for the SDR and physiotherapy.
“Once we are home and Alycia has recovered, we will start throwing ourselves back in to the fundraising again,” said Natasha.
“The care she has received in Oxford has been second to none and the doctors have been overwhelmed by her recovery. They said they wouldn’t normally expect a child to be standing like this and getting ready to walk so quickly after the operation. She may even be able to come home on a trial basis.
“We are keeping a diary every day, including photos and videos, so that she can see how far she has come. She is the one saying she wants to go to the gym every day and try to stand up, and try to walk, she’s amazing.”
The Robert Le Kyng pupil is completing school work from her hospital bed to ensure she doesn’t fall behind her classmates.
To raise money for the SDR op, call Natasha on 07825 828265 or visit alyciaamericandream.com.
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