THE family of Oakley Smith are preparing to fly out on a transatlantic journey they hope will change his life.
Because of his cerebral palsy, the three-year-old struggles to stand and even straightening his legs is painful.
But his parents Terry Smith and Angie Mahon, from Warren Park, are hoping the operation he has in America next week will enable him to walk.
Angie, 34, Terry and Oakley’s twin Mykey, fly to St Louis, Missouri, tomorrow having raised £35,000 for the operation.
‘We are all so excited,’ said Angie, a mum of four.
‘Oakley knows he is going to have an operation and he understands what’s going on.
He just wants to get there now.
‘The operation has a 100 per cent success rate.
‘There is no doubt in our minds that he will benefit.
‘They have predicted he will walk independently after the operation.
‘The operation has just started being performed in Britain but because it’s so new it is not done as regularly over here.
‘They say it would be uneconomical.
‘Oakley wouldn’t even be looked at until he is five and he is at the perfect age for it now.
‘We did not want to risk losing this chance.’
After the 11-hour flight, the family will settle in ready for the operation next week.
Although it will only take around 90 minutes, Oakley will be in hospital for five days.
And he will have to go back every day for the next month for intensive physiotherapy.
It will mean leaving Angie’s older children Bailey and Kelsey for the first time.
She said: ‘I’ll really miss them, it’s going to be very hard.
‘But they are so happy that we’re going because it’s going to be so good for Oakley.’
And she had some words to all those who made the operation possible.
‘There will still be a lot of fundraising going on while we’re in America and I want to say a really big thank you to all those who have helped us.
‘We’re absolutely over the moon with all the support we have received.
‘B&Q in Havant has even made us their charity of the year.’
To make a donation go to justgiving.com/AngelaMahon.