HE IS always “smiling and cracking jokes” but faces daily treatment and pain as a child with cerebral palsy.
Joshua Graham, seven, of Canonbie, who attends the primary school, is now raising funds for a crucial operation at a Liverpool hospital.
Joshua lives with his parents, Michelle and ? and sister, Edith.
The online fundraising is through Just4Childen and the life-changing operation Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) will help with his independence and mobility.
The operation costs £21,000 and Joshua’s target is £25,000 to help with post-operative treatment and equipment. So far, he has raised £18,358.
He was born two months early, weighing only 3lb 14oz.
Aged one, he was sent for an MRI scan because he wasn’t reaching milestones.
This revealed he had cerebral palsy and, as time went on, we learnt this type was diplegic, affecting Joshua’s legs.
“Joshua has a love of life and is always smiling and cracking jokes.
“Physiotherapy and stretching are daily in his life. He goes through such a lot from early morning stretches and muscle strengthening exercises before school and all repeated during the day.
“Occasionally, Joshua can wake in the night distressed and upset with extremely painful cramp in his leg muscles. This is awful for us all.”
The surgery reduces spasticity in the lower limbs and is effective in treating spasticity by cutting the nerve rootlets in the spinal canal which are sending abnormal signals to the muscles.
SDR is intended to improve quality of life and/or mobility in children affected by it.”
Michelle said: “It has been a long process in getting to this stage, starting when Joshua was only two.
“Unfortunately, after many tests, assessments and meetings over the years, it was decided that Joshua did not fit the strict criteria for SDR in Scotland.
“We didn’t let that stop us and we went for a second opinion at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital where they told us it was a no brainer and would perform the life-changing operation on Joshua.
“But, because we live in Scotland, we don’t qualify under NHS England’s criteria and must fund the operation ourselves.
“Further funds would be used for the important post-operative period, of which a minimum of two years’ intense physio is needed.
“Joshua may need specialist equipment in the coming years, too.
We believe SDR would give Joshua the best quality of life possible.”
Just4Children is passionate about the relief of sickness and preservation of good physical and mental health in children and young people aged under 25 who live in the UK and Ireland.
For more details about Joshua’s fundraising go to https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/JoshuasSDRJourney