Appeal for £50,000 pioneering treatment to help Charlie walk
PUBLISHED: 13:30 13 January 2012 | UPDATED: 13:34 13 January 2012
The mother of a teenager with cerebral palsy is hoping to raise £50,000 for a life-changing operation in America for her son.
Charlie Randell, 13, of Joydens Wood Road, Bexley, was born 10 weeks premature and developed bronchiolitis – a lower respiratory tract infection – when he was four-weeks-old. He was sent home from hospital weighing just 4lb.
The Dartford Leigh Technology Academy student was later diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a neurological condition that affects movement and co-ordination.
He has never been able to walk independently depending on a wheelchair or walking frame to get around.
His mother Amanda Randell said: “The operation in Missouri will give him the possibility of being able to walk independently. It’s quite a controversial operation but it has been performed since 1987.
“I have to bath and dress Charlie but this operation will hopefully give him some independence.
“I’m looking forward to the day when I can say get ready for school and he’ll be able to do so by himself.
“He’ll continue to have physio when he gets home but hopefully he’ll be able to use a stick to get around.
“We hope to send him to America early next year and are trying to raise as much money as possible.”
Despite his condition, the teenager plays football for the Swanscombe Tigers disability team using his walking frame and is a keen swimmer and horse-rider.
The operation called Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) will involve severing certain nerves in the spinal cord to release stiffness relaxing the muscles in his legs.
Charlie, who is an ambassador for the charity Whizz Kidz, will undergo the procedure in the St Louis Children’s Hospital and although the optimal age for the operation is between five and eight, experts are positive that he is a good candidate for surgery.
His family have organised a number of fundraising events and have so far raised £15,000 but need help to reach their target.
n To donate to the Charlie Randell Fund visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/CharlieRandell