A toddler with a form of cerebral palsy whose hopes of walking unaided were hit by NHS funding cuts has been given fresh hope — thanks to a £50,000 fundraising bid by his family, friends and the local community.
Three-year-old Theo Hunt, of Underwood, was penciled in this year for life-changing surgery to tackle the condition spastic diplegia, known as Little’s Disease, which manifests itself as tightening of the muscles and restricts mobility.
But he and mum Melissa were left heartbroken when a letter arrived in February confirming the money was no longer available.
However, despite the the cancellation dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) surgery — an operation only performed by two surgeons in the UK — Melissa and Theo’s eight-year-old brother, Louis, have taken decisive steps.
For they are hoping to raise a total of almost £50,000 to foot the bill for a private operation and any rehabilitation and physiotherapy.
Already they have collected £6,000, including £1,000 from an Easter fun day.
Melissa says that after three years of research, the best option for Theo is the SDR surgery.
“This is the only chance Theo will have to walk in an independent, functional way,” she said. “It will keep him out of a wheelchair and will mean he will never have to have other lengthy procedures.
“He is already starting to realise that he is a bit different and wants to walk around like the other children and his brother Louis.”
The family have already received a lot of support from community groups. The fun day, entitled ‘Theo’s Wish to Walk’, was held last Saturday.
The event started at St Michael and All Angels’ Church in Underwood with an Easter Egg trail and finished in the evening at the miners’ welfare with a children’s disco.
“The weather was good, the kids were in great spirits and everyone had a great time, including Theo,” said Melissa, who has given up her job to become Theo’s full-time carer.
The family, including Theo’s uncle, Lee Grant, are now looking forward to their next fundraiser – a boxing show which will see ten different fights, including one featuring Lee, who has never boxed before. It is being staged at the Forum Nightclub at the Cornerhouse in Nottingham on Saturday May 3. Tickets are £20, with 50 per cent of proceeds going toward the fund.
“We’ve had some great support from family, friends and strangers and I am appealing to anyone else who may have fundraising ideas or donations to make to get in touch,” said Melissa.
All the money donated for Theo’s cause will go to charity Tree of Hope, who specialise in supporting families of children who need specialist surgery. The charity will then donate the money to the hospital where Theo has his operation.
Melissa added: “After the operation, Theo’s diplegia could be completely managed through physio exercise, which no price can be put on.
“He is desperate to play in the garden with a football with his big brother and nothing could mean more to him or all of us.”
Anyone wanting to donate can do so by visiting justgiving.com/theoswishtowalk or texting THEO75 followed by a space and £ with the amount to 70070.
Tickets for the boxing show turday, which runs from 12.30pm to 5pm can be purchased by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 07872 629 025.