Family set off to realise their American dream

(l-r) Mum Sallyanne Osborne, with Oliver, aged three, and sister Millie, aged five. ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (142590-1182)

(l-r) Mum Sallyanne Osborne, with Oliver, aged three, and sister Millie, aged five. ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (142590-1182)

Portsmouth clinicians in need of people for study

1
Have your say

DREAMS are finally coming true for a family as they fly out to America so their three-year-old son can undergo life-changing surgery.

The Osbornes have raised more than £100,000 for their son Oliver to pay for his operation and physiotherapy through their Footsteps 4 Oliver appeal.

Oliver has spastic diplegic cerebral palsy and needs an operation called selective dorsal rhizotomy to help him walk.

As the operation is available for only a small amount of cases in the UK, the family decided to fundraise to pay for the operation to be carried out at St Louis Children’s Hospital in Missouri.

Mum Sallyanne, 39, and dad Terry, 37, are delighted to be heading out to America after 13 months of fundraising.

Sallyanne, of Hillcroft, Titchfield Park, said: ‘It is really exciting. Oliver keeps telling us where he is going, every day when he wakes up he says “am I going to see Dr Parks today?”’

The family were inspired to fundraise after hearing about four-year-old Harvey Young, from Titchfield, who, as reported in The News, had a similar operation in America and can now walk short distances unaided.

Sallyanne said: ‘We had heard about the operation and Oliver’s consultant had mentioned it a few times but it is such a scary operation that to start off with we didn’t want him to have it.

‘Then I saw a poster about Harvey Young in my local chemist and I rang his mum and dad. I went round there and spoke to them and did some more research.

‘It has been interesting and Harvey has started at the same school as my daughter Millie so we see him quite often.’

The Osbornes also met up with the family of four-year-old Aiden Farrel, from Gosport, who has cerebral palsy and had the same operation in July last year.

They held various fundraisers for Oliver, including a ball which raised more than £12,000, friends completing sponsored races, including two who raced 3,000 miles on bicycles across America, and various other raffles, auctions and 
events

Sallyanne and Terry both work for Virgin Atlantic as cabin supervisors and they were heartened when the company got behind them to organise different events.

Oliver will have his operation on Tuesday and the family will return to the UK at the beginning of November. Once he returns he will have months of physiotherapy before taking his first steps.

Sallyanne added: ‘Hopefully he will be able to play with the other children soon. It’s heartbreaking to see him as he wants to go out and join them.

‘We want him to ride a bike or play on a scooter, and hopefully this operation will make it easier for him to do.’

Back to the top of the page