Well-wishers raise over £14k for Barnoldswick toddler's operation

MAKING STRIDES Oliver Rushton tries walking with the aid of a frame

MAKING STRIDES Oliver Rushton tries walking with the aid of a frame

First published in News Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by

ALMOST £15,000 has been raised for a Barnoldswick toddler who needs a life-changing operation to help him walk.

Two-year-old Oliver Rushton suffers from spastic diplegia, a form of cerebral palsy, and is in need of a specialist spinal procedure which could cost £25,000.

His parents Adam and Helen, of Carr Road, began fundraising efforts in late August and have raised just under £15,000.

“Everybody’s support has been overwhelming,” said Helen, a part-time midwife at Burnley General Hospital.

Oliver, who cannot stand up or walk without assistance, experiences constant tightness and stiffness in his legs and gets around by crawling.

He has been referred to Leeds General Infirmary for an assessment and, once that is carried out, the couple will decide whether to let Oliver have surgery there or go to America where the Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy operation was pioneered.

“We’re now very optimistic that Oliver is going to have the operation this year, be it in America or Leeds,” said Helen.

Despite his condition, his mum said that Oliver was an active little boy, adding: “He’s quite a determined little character and a quick crawler.

“Although he can’t walk, he can still get into mischief.”

He has started nursery and has been a member of Pendle Riding for the Disabled since June.

“He’s their youngest rider,” said Helen. “He loves it and it’s good for his balance.”

Helen said the generosity of friends, family, work colleagues, the local community and even strangers has been absolutely fantastic.

A race night at Rolls-Royce has been the largest fundraiser at £6,000.

A rock and roll hair event at Halo salon raised £1,600 and a bake-off at Burnley Hospital made £800.

Upcoming events include the Skipton Triathlon, which will feature many regulars from the Greyhound pub competing in support of Oliver, and Skipton Young Farmers have organised an 'It’s a Knockout' event in the summer.

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