'Cheeky' Northampton Saints fan with cerebral palsy is fundraising £50k for life-altering operation

Harry is fundraising for a life-changing operation, which will help him use his legs unaided by his mum and dad.
Harry is fundraising for a life-changing operation, which will help him use his legs unaided by his mum and dad.

A five-year-old Northampton boy, who had bowel surgery at one day old, is hoping to raise £50,000 for a life-changing operation in the USA to help him stand and walk unaided.

Reception pupil Harry Restall, of Duston, was diagnosed with spastic diplegia cerebral palsy when he was a baby and his only hope of walking and living a more independent life is undergoing Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) surgery and extensive physiotherapy in the USA, which is not funded by the NHS.

Born prematurely, East Hunsbury Primary School pupil Harry had bowel surgery at one-day-old and fought off countless sepsis infections while he was in the neonatal intensive care unit, which has left him with brain damage.

Mum Jenny said: "This very charismatic, cheeky, intelligent boy is an absolute marvel. He is a fighter who fought his utmost to live surviving prematurity, life-saving bowel surgery at one day old and countless sepsis infections whilst in NICU.

"Unfortunately, Harry didn’t come out of this unscathed. He suffered from a brain injury called periventricular leukomalacia, which has manifested as spastic diplegia cerebral palsy. This means that Harry’s movements are affected, particularly his legs where he is unable to stand or walk unaided. This is a bit of a problem for an active little boy that adores rugby, Strictly Come Dancing and P.E at school. Harry would love to take that first independent step, and maybe succeed in scoring a try for England."

Harry is currently having regular physiotherapy at Footsteps in Oxfordshire, but after his mum took time off to become his full-time carer, crowdfunding has become the family's only option to help Harry use his legs.

"This dream can come true if Harry undergoes a life-changing operation called Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy, which reduces spasticity and help Harry to walk," Jenny added.

Unfortunately, this operation is not funded on the NHS nor is the intensive physiotherapy that Harry attends at Footsteps in Oxfordshire, which assists with Harry’s rehabilitation. If his family succeeded in achieving their fundraising goal, Harry would go to America to receive this pioneering surgery.

Earlier this year, the family welcomed Harry’s little sister into the world.

Jenny said: "It's a bittersweet moment knowing that her little footsteps will come first. It would mean the world to Harry, his family and his friends to raise this money so that he can join in with playing with his siblings, his friends in the school playground, to take that first, precious step."

Harry will be at Franklin's Gardens at the Saints versus Harlequins match doing a bucket shake with his family on Friday, February 2 from 5pm to help get him to the USA.

To help change little Harry's life, donate money here: http://www.treeofhope.org.uk/harry-restall/