Campaign to help brave Leeds five-year-old Coopa walk unaided
Coopa Ellis-Adams was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when she was 18-months old and requires the use of a wheelchair or walking frame as the condition mainly affects her legs.
Medics at Leeds General Infirmary have assessed her as suitable for an operation which could change her life forever.
However, funding for the surgery is not available on the NHS.
Coopa’s family and friends have begun a campaign to raise the £35,000 needed to pay for the operation and cover the cost of intensive physiotherapy which she will then need.
Her mum Louisa told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “This operation would change her whole world.
“Coopa is a very clever girl and is developing well at school. She doesn’t let her condition stop her from doing most things other children do.
“At the moment she has to use the walking frame or wheel chair and it sometimes gets to her because she just wants to run around and play with all her other friends.”
For the past three years Coopa’s treatment has involved physiotherapy, medication and Botox injections to try and relax her muscles in her legs but without much success.
Louisa and dad Wayne took Coopa for a four-hour assessment at Leeds General Infirmary where they were told their daughter could benefit from the operation, called selective dorsal rhizotomy.
The procedure helps children with stiffness in their legs due to cerebral palsy.
It involves cutting a number of sensory nerves in the lower spine.
Paediatric neurosurgeon Mr John Goodden is set to carry out the operation, having studied the technique in the USA, subject to Coopa’s family raising the required funding.
Louisa added: “If the operation is successful and Coopa works hard at the physiotherapy afterwards there is nothing to say that she won’t be able to walk on her own. We have had a lot of support and donations already and hope to have raised enough so Coopa can have the operation by autumn next year.”
Around £6,000 has so far been raised in the three weeks since the appeal to help Coopa was launched.
Louisa added: “The generosity and support people have shown so far has been fantastic and there are plenty more events planned.”
Hunslet Old Boys are to stage a charity match at the Hunslet Club to raise funds for the appeal on February 25.
Coopa’s family welcome any donations or other fundraising ideas.
Selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) is a surgical procedure that can help children with severe muscle spasticity in their legs to improve their walking.
It’s usually only recommended if other treatments for muscle stiffness have failed.
The operation involves cutting some of the nerves in the lower spinal column, which can help relieve leg stiffness.
However, extensive physiotherapy lasting several months will be needed after the operation.
The operation is not currently available on the NHS.