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Rawtenstall boy walks for first time after US operation
A NINE-year-old boy has taken his first steps following a life-changing operation in America.
Theo Bishop, from Rawtenstall, underwent surgery in Missouri and is now able to walk flat-footed.
He suffers from cerebral palsy and could only walk on his tip toes with a special frame before the surgery.
His mum Mandy, from Rawtenstall, said it was 'amazing' to see her son on his feet.
Speaking from the St Louis Children’s Hospital 4,000 miles away in Missouri, she said: “Everything has gone well so far. He has been a little under the weather since the first operation but he is perking up again now.
“He managed to take his first flat-footed steps with his support, which is a massive step forward. It is a huge and amazing moment for us.
“He is having physio regularly now since the first operation and is getting ready for the second one.”
Theo, from Fallbarn Crescent, Rawtenstall, cannot walk without a frame and was diagnosed with the condition when he was just 14 months old.
His family have had to raise £45,000 to fund the two operations in America, which is a spinal procedure known as Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy.
Surgeons cut the spinal nerves that force Theo to walk on his tip toes causing him pain.
Theo, Mandy and dad Stuart launched a campaign in October 2011 to raise the money for the operation, which is not available on the NHS.
The surgery is aimed at enabling the Balladen Primary School pupil to put his feet on the floor and make it easier for him to move around.
One day football-mad Theo hopes to be able to have a kick-about with his sister Jaime-Leigh and brother Thomas.
Theo’s dad Stuart is set to return home next week as he has to go back to work. Mandy’s brother, Andrew Payne, will then fly out to help look after Theo when he has had his operations.
While in America Theo was met Bacup-born Steve Towers, who now lives in Louisiana, who paid for Theo’s flights and accommodation after reading his story online.
The second operation is due to take place on August 7 to lengthen the tendons in his legs that tighten and cause him intense pain.
Theo is due to return to the UK on August 30, and at this stage his family is unsure whether he will be able to go straight back to Balladen Primary School in September to start year five.
The fundraising campaign reached £25,000 in the first two months after Theo made a YouTube video to appeal for support, and the family set up the Theo’s Big Leap website and Facebook page.