A three-year-old boy with Cerebral Palsy should soon be able to walk for the first time thanks to a life-changing operation in America.
Daniel Hartin, from Heath Road, Haywards Heath, is finally able to sit up and play with his sister without assistance after undergoing an operation in Missouri for which his parents and the community have raised £70,000.
The aim of the treatment was to release tension in his muscles to enable him to learn to walk and move like normal.
His mother Kate Hartin, who has devoted a huge amount of time to fund raising since last year, said: “I’m the happiest mum in the world.
“Dan’s op went well and he’s getting stronger everyday. His tightness in his legs has totally gone!
“We go to daily physio sessions to build up his stamina, strength and retrain his brain to use his muscles effectively. “
Dan and his twin sister Alice were born three months prematurely.
They spent two months in the Trevor Mann Intensive Care Baby Unit before they were well enough to be transferred to the Princess Royal Hospital where they spent another four weeks.
Alice has since developed as expected but Dan was diagnosed with a type of Cerebral Palsy that means he has suffered irreparable damage to some of the white matter of both sides of his brain.
Consequently, he is unable to walk or stand unaided.
The tension in Dan’s muscles meant he was constantly tired and couldn’t even crawl without falling onto his belly.
He used to use standing equipment to help him interact with his sister and playgroup friends.
Kate said it wasn’t just the inability to walk which affected him but also his educational and emotional wellbeing were at stake.
Kate said: “He can now sit cross legged without slouching and totally balanced.
“So now he can play with his sister on the same eye level without falling over.”
The delicate and highly skilled neurosurgical procedure Dan underwent is performed in this country, NHS funding is almost impossible to come by because so few surgeons carry it out.
The family will return home on August 30.
n Read the family’s blog at OneSmallStepForDan.weebly.com