BRAVE schoolboy Daniel Findlay is already feeling the benefits of a major operation to help him walk unaided for the first time in his life.
The 13-year-old from Southsea has contacted The News from America where he underwent three hours of surgery thanks to the generosity of the local community and our readers who raised £39,000 in 18 months.
He said: ‘I’m doing well. Thanks to everyone for their support.’
Daniel, who has to use a wheelchair, has a form of cerebral palsy called spastic diplegia that causes severe tightening of the muscles.
Before he went under the knife last Thursday, his muscles were so tight he could not even touch the ground with his heels – but that’s a different story now and Daniel has sent us pictures to prove it.
In one, he is sitting straighter than before in his wheelchair, with his feet flat on a plate.
In another, he is enjoying his first physio session with Nell the hospital dog who is dressed up by staff to bring a smile to patients’ faces.
Daniel, a pupil at Portchester Community School where staff and students have been fundraising relentlessly, said: ‘I remember panicking before the operation but woke up in good hands and everything has gone well.
‘I had a couple of really rough days after the operation. My back felt weak and it was really sore, and I felt spaced out and had lost weight. But I have been discharged from hospital now and feel very hungry all the time.’
The selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) operation involved severing nerves in Daniel’s spinal column that were making muscles tighten.
While Daniel can breathe a sigh of relief that it has gone to plan, he still has to look forward to a second operation next Thursday to lengthen his hamstring muscles and many more months of physiotherapy.
Daniel said: ‘I have had five sessions of physio with many more to come and I feel I am getting stronger with a little back pain.
‘My next hurdle is the hamstring release but it will be minor compared to SDR.
‘The hospital have ordered me a walking frame and after my hamstring operation my legs will be straighter and less tight.
‘I feel apprehensive about all the physio ahead but very excited about what it will do for me.’
More funding is needed for Daniel’s after-care.
To donate visit justgiving.com/danielfindlayappeal.