Six months after jetting to the US for life-changing surgery, Northumberland youngster Callum Brown is standing tall on his own two feet.
The eight-year-old is standing and walking unaided for the first time since he underwent an operation to help him walk.
Callum, who suffers from diplegic cerebral palsy, travelled to St Louis Children’s Hospital in January for an operation on his spine called selective dorsal rhizotomy surgery.
It was hoped the surgery, carried out by world- renowned surgeon Dr TS Park, would allow Callum, of Seaton Sluice, to walk independently for the first time in his life.
Mother Sharon, 41, said: “He is doing brilliantly. He is walking on his own unaided and has taken about 14 steps.
“He is just getting so much stronger. He has even been playing out with his friends and I have been a nervous wreck. I am just not used to it.
“He will say, ‘I’m just going round the corner’, and I find myself sneaking round to have a look.”
On his arrival in the US, Callum underwent the five-hour SDR procedure on his spine. Two weeks after his first major operation, Callum was back in theatre again for work to be done on his heels and hamstrings.
Since his return home, he has undergone intense physiotherapy to ensure he continues to build the strength he needs in his legs to help him walk.
“He has come along so well, he has done amazing,” said Sharon, who travelled to America with Callum and husband Neil.
“In the house he is not struggling around. He is walking everywhere, even if he is walking from bit of furniture to bit of furniture and wall to wall. He is not using his sticks there. He is trying loads of new things he could never do before. We went for a walk on the beach and for the first time he could go in the sea using his sticks.
“He just turned and said to me, ‘Mam, this is amazing, I have never done this before’.
“He has physio every day or his personal trainer and we are going to Perth next month to work with his specialist physiotherapist for two weeks for more intense training,” said Sharon, a teaching assistant.
The family have had to pay for private physiotherapy sessions every week so that Callum can get the most from his surgery, but this has come at a huge cost for the family. “It is costing us a fortune, about ï¿½500 a month, but it is worth every single penny,” said Sharon.
“We just have one more event in October and that is our fundraising.”
Callum still has a lot of work to do and continues to use his sticks, but his mum said her only child’s determination means nothing will get in his way.
“He has not used his wheelchair since we got off the plane,” she said. “He starts Seaton Sluice Middle School in September and he is really ready for it and looking forward to it.
“He is just doing so well. Everything is a new challenge to him and he is wanting to do it,” she said.
If you want to support the family with any fundraising, please email Sharon on firstname.lastname@example.org