LITTLE Archie Anderson is aiming to help other children have the same life-changing operation he has had.
Archie, six, and his family jetted off to St Louis Children’s Hospital in America in June so the youngster could receive selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR).
Doctors “re-wired” nerves in Archie’s spine after his family launched an ambitious fundraising drive to pay for the operation, which is not available on the NHS in this country.
Now Archie and his mum Marie, from Ashington, are going to help Callum Brown, an eight-year-old fellow cerebral palsy sufferer from Seaton Sluice in Northumberland, and Ben Elliott, from Killingworth in North Tyneside, who has also had SDR.
Callum and his parents Sharon and Neil are trying to raise £50,000 to pay for SDR while Ben is learning to walk tall after the op.
Marie is planning to take on a new year dip on Tuesday at Whitley Bay beach for the Callum’s Wish to Walk fund, as well as Ben Elliott’s Footsteps to help pay for physiotherapy.
Archie will be collecting for his pals.
Marie said: “Archie is adamant that he wants to do the dip too, but I think it will be a bit too cold for him.
“Callum is his little friend, and it is nice they give each other a lot of support.
“They’ve really hit it off. Obviously Callum is getting ready to go to America for his operation.
“It is nice that me, Archie and Callum and his mum can talk about things. The two boys get on fantastically and they will spur each other on doing their exercises.”
Altogether, the kind people of Tyneside drummed up a whopping £80,000 for Archie, which has not only paid for the surgery, but also for physiotherapy to ensure Archie benefits as much as possible.
Marie watched her son play the role of a Spanish traveller in his school’s nativity play at St Aidan’s First School in Ashington this year and filled up with pride.
“He is doing so well,” said Marie.
“It is amazing to see how far he has come, and it is really nice when people say they have seen Archie out walking with me.
“I saw Archie in his school play and he was keeping up fine – it was lovely to see him just be the same as everyone else and doing the dancing without struggling.
“Last year we were worried about the operation and thinking about fundraising, and this Christmas we are just going to enjoy some family time.
“This year we have no major worries.
“Things would have been so different if Archie hadn’t had the operation, now that we can see him afterwards.
“It has been great seeing him on his bike and walking around without his splints on.
“It’s good to know we made the right decision in going for the operation.
“We would not have had this if it wasn’t for all the people who donated.
“I would like to say a big thank you to all of them.”