Leeds family's JustGiving effort to get boy with cerebral palsy treatment in USA

The Mitchell family, from left to right: Gabriel, seven, mum Emma, Sam, four, and Dad Alistair at their home in Colton, Leeds.
The Mitchell family, from left to right: Gabriel, seven, mum Emma, Sam, four, and Dad Alistair at their home in Colton, Leeds.

A Leeds family has embarked on an ambitious fundraising effort so that a four-year-old boy with cerebral palsy can benefit from life-changing treatment abroad.

Sam Mitchell, of Colton, was born prematurely at 28 weeks and became critically ill, fighting listeria, sepsis, meningitis and other conditions.

Sam and mum Emma.

Sam and mum Emma.

Surviving against the odds, he suffered brain damage and has Spastic Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy.

In November 2020, it is hoped he will travel to the USA for Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) surgery.

The youngster's family has launched a £70,000 fundraising effort, called Team Sunshine Sam, to help pay for the treatment.

Speaking about her son, mum Emma, 43, said: "He's very funny, has huge belly laughs and likes silly things, like his brother pretending to fall on the floor.

"He's a confident little boy - really friendly, really cuddly and really loving."

The condition affects his whole right side, causing spasticity in his arm and leg so his muscles are continuously contracted and his limbs tight and stiff.

Sam has limited use of his hand and arm, impacting basic daily activities, and walks on his toes and needs to use a splint to try and keep his heel down.

He has poor balance and coordination, so falls a lot and has painful muscle spasms.

The youngster can walk but some days not far, and often he needs carrying upstairs to bed.

Mrs Mitchell, husband Alistair, 44, and Sam's older brother Gabriel, seven, hope that the treatment in St Louis, Missouri, would permanently reduce the spasticity in his leg.

Extended family and friends will be under taking various fundraising activities in the coming months such as sky dives, running races and a grand ball.

On their JustGiving page set up through the Just4Children charity, the family said: "We want Sam to struggle less. We are so full of love and pride for our brave and resilient little boy and his achievements."

Anyone who wishes to donate to the fund should visit www.justgiving.com/campaign/teamsunshinesam