NHS trials give fresh hope to Cam’s dream

Picture by Allan McKenzie/AMGP.co.uk - Cameron Harper - Castleford, England - 140414 - The Harper family - Kacey, Nicola, Cameron & Paul.
Picture by Allan McKenzie/AMGP.co.uk - Cameron Harper - Castleford, England - 140414 - The Harper family - Kacey, Nicola, Cameron & Paul.

The family of Castleford youngster Cameron Harper – who was refused an operation on the NHS that could help him walk – have been given fresh hope.

Seven-year-old Cameron underwent tests at Leeds General Infirmary in January that confirmed he was an ideal candidate for selective dorsal rhizotomy surgery (SDR).

But in April his devastated family were told the £26,000 operation was no longer routinely available on the NHS.

They have already raised around £14,000 towards more than the £50,000 they need to cover the cost of both the surgery and his rehabilitation.

But now NHS England has announced it is to start funding trials of the specialist surgery for 120 children a year who suffer from cerebral palsy.

Cameron and his family now face an anxious wait to see if he is chosen for the operation as part of the trial.

The surgery will take place at five hospital trusts, including Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

Cameron’s dad, Paul, 34, said: “He just wants to be able to walk. He would be over the moon if he was to be chosen for one of the trials.

“He’s only seven but he’s started to ask why it’s him who’s got cerebral palsy and not other people.

“He’s already got a lot of goals in life that he wants to achieve and for him to be able to walk without depending on me and his mum would be amazing.

“It’s constant heartbreak for us.”

Pontefract and Castleford MP Yvette Cooper wrote to the head of NHS England calling for them to look again at funding the surgery.

Ms Cooper said: “It’s great that following my questions to NHS England they’ve decided to run trials on the procedure to see if could be offered to NHS patients.

“Cameron’s parents have been shown that it could make a big difference to his quality of life and I’ll be meeting with them and Cameron as soon as possible to see how I can help take things forward on their behalf.”

A spokesman for NHS England said: “Children aged between three and ten who suffer stiffness in their lower limbs, and meet the clinical criteria for treatment, can access SDR as part of the initiative.”

The family are continuing to raise money for the operation and Cameron’s rehabilitation.

To donate visit www.justgiving.com/cameronharper