An eight-year-old is looking forward to a bright 2014 after his wish for surgery to help him to walk unaided came true.
Joseph Hill, who has cerebral palsy, had the life-changing operation after a nationwide fundraising campaign.
The Yorkshire Evening Post revealed in July that his family had been forced to raise the cash themselves after NHS rules changed and they faced paying for the surgery which had previously been done for free.
Over £40,000 was collected, allowing him to have the procedure at Leeds General Infirmary.
Now the youngster, who previously used a wheelchair, is impressing medics with his progress.
His mum Angela, from Wakefield, said: “It’s just a wish come true.
“It’s such a different future for him now – mobility hopefully won’t be an issue.
“There’s still a long way to go but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel where there was not before.”
Joseph is set to have physiotherapy for two years and his mobility is expected to carry on getting better.
“Every day there’s an improvement. It’s been amazing,” said Angela.
“He has gone from walking on a walking frame to tripod sticks. He’s also managed to take a few independent steps by himself.”
“We cannot wait for the next year to come.”
She said Joseph had taken everything in his stride, as had his four-year-old sister Emma, and thanked everyone who had donated. “We could not have done it without everybody’s help,” she said.
Joseph was told earlier this year that the selective dorsal rhizotomy procedure which Leeds General Infirmary had started offering could help him walk unaided.
The operation was initially available on the NHS but following reforms, Joseph’s family were told the health service would not pay for it. Instead the fundraising was started, because the youngster needed the surgery before he turned nine next month. After huge support, enough was collected to pay for the operation and the intensive physiotherapy afterwards.