Castleford youngster Cameron to get dream operation

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ - Cameron Harper - Castleford, England - 140414 - Cameron Harper.
Picture by Allan McKenzie/ - Cameron Harper - Castleford, England - 140414 - Cameron Harper.

Castleford youngster Cameron Harper - who has cerebral palsy - has been selected for NHS trials of an operation to help him walk for the first time.

Seven-year-old Cameron has been told he will have specialist Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy surgery (SDR) at Leeds General Infirmary, which is set to transform his life.

Consultant neurosurgeon John Goodden, who works for Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, called Cameron’s family to tell them the good news last week.

Cameron’s aunt Lisa Roberts said: “The whole family is over the moon, it’s absolutely amazing.

“Cameron can’t wait to have the operation. He said ‘I’m going to walk and I will be able to chase you around.’

“Obviously there is a long way to go, this is just the start. But at last we are on the road now.”

Cameron underwent tests at Leeds General Infirmary in January that confirmed he was an ideal candidate for SDR surgery.

His family was devastated when they told the £26,000 operation had stopped being routinely available on the NHS last April.

They launched a fundraising drive and raised around £14,000 towards more than £50,000 they would have needed to cover the cost of the surgery in the United States plus rehabilitation costs.

They were determined to fight for Cameron and asked Pontefract and Castleford MP Yvette Cooper for help.

Ms Cooper wrote to the head of NHS England calling for them to look again at funding the surgery.

A spokesman for NHS England said children aged between three and 10 who suffer stiffness in their lower limbs, and meet the clinical criteria for treatment, would be able to access SDR as part of the initiative.

Mr Goodden, who will be performing the surgery at Leeds General Infirmary, has successfully carried out a number of SDR operations

He said: “Cameron is a lovely child who will get a huge benefit from SDR surgery. For Cameron, SDR will mean he will eventually be able to walk better and will improve his quality of life.

“Freedom of walking and independent mobility is one of the most important gifts any child can have.”