The family of a six-year-old boy with a rare form of cerebral palsy are heading to America for life-changing surgery to help him walk – after raising almost £90,000.
Saul Wylie was diagnosed with Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy when he was just 18 months old and has been left unable to walk or stand unaided.
The schoolboy and his family from Tarbolton, South Ayrshire were told by doctors in the UK they can’t treat his serious form of cerebral palsy – which affects one in five children.
Last year parents Karen, 40, and Stuart, 42, launched a desperate fundraising effort to raise £80,000 to get pioneering Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) treatment in America.
The money will pay for a spinal op to help Saul walk, leg braces and two-year recovery programme in the US.
Saul’s family are now set to head across the pond to St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Missouri, where doctors can provide the surgery and rehabilitation, after raising £86,000.
“We’ve went over and above the target now.
“There’s about £86,000 with money still coming in.
“We can’t believe how quickly it was achieved.”
Saul and his twin brother Clay were both born 12 weeks premature, with Saul weighing just 1lb, and spent the first year of his life in Glasgow’s Yorkhill Children’s Hospital.
His worried parents – Karen, who cares for her son full time, and Stuart, an electrician – were told there was little chance of Saul surviving after he was born.
But the fighter, who Karen was advised to terminate during her pregnancy to boost brother Clay’s chances, defied experts.
Children with cerebral palsy are graded one to five and Saul has grade four, but doctors in the UK will only treat children up to grade three.
The operation in the States costs £49,000 and his family would also need to buy leg braces and equipment for the physiotherapy – which will take two years to complete.
The procedure, which can take five hours, will help improve Saul’s muscle stiffness by relaxing the arcs that cause increased muscle tension.
Saul is scheduled to have surgery in 2020 but a cancellation would bring this forward now that the funds have been raised.
Overjoyed Karen said: “On December 22, Saul had to go through a whole lot of different assessments, MRI scans, you name it and it all happened about the same time.
“We’re absolutely delighted. It’s been overwhelming the kind of support we have received from the surrounding area.
“People have came out of the woodwork, people I’ve never met before wanting to help.
“It was two years my husband and I gave to try and raise the money and we did it in 33 weeks.
“Because we now have the funds in place, Saul is on a cancellation list so we’re literally just waiting on a phone call now to see when we can go.”