THE parents of a brother and sister who both have cerebral palsy are hopeful of their children being given life-changing operations.
Leah Hill, nine, and brother Billy, seven, both have difficulty walking because of the condition.
Leah relies on sticks and Billy is in a wheelchair.
Their parents Phil Hill and Cheryl Sproston have been fundraising to pay for selective dorsal rhizotomy surgery for them both to remove nerves to loosen their muscles, should they be turned down by the NHS.
Last year Mr Hill completed the Great South Run while Leah and Billy used every ounce of strength to complete the Mini Great South Run.
But now the family have been told that Leah is likely to get funding for the operation as she has become so much stronger. And Billy’s case is also being looked at again.
Mr Hill, 41, of Highclere Avenue, Leigh Park, who is the children’s full-time carer, said: ‘They are both very happy children. Leah has come on leaps and bounds. She is so determined.
‘She’s gone from being in a wheelchair, to using a walking frame to using a walking stick. She would really benefit from the operation.
‘Hopefully she won’t need to use any walking aids afterwards and lead a normal life.
‘Billy is a lot weaker and he is in a wheelchair most of the day.
‘I do a lot of walking with him on the frame.
‘And he has to do a lot of stretching otherwise his muscles would become so tight and deformed and painful.
‘Because of the strict criteria on doing SDR over here there is a real possibility that the NHS will say no, but they have agreed to look at it again.
‘If they do say no we will have to send him to America to have it done.’
Leah said: ‘I hope I can have the operation so I can walk like my friends.’
So far the family have raised £1,300. The money will go towards funding physiotherapy for Leah after her operation, if she is given the go-ahead, and for funding Billy’s operation in America if he does not get treatment on the NHS.
To donate go to justgiving.com/helpleahandbillyhill.