A FIVE-year-old boy has undergone a “miracle” operation which means today he will walk through his school gates for the first time.
Jay Johnson, who has cerebral palsy and was previously wheelchair-bound, had the life-changing surgery in the United States last month.
While it could take up to a year for him to be able to walk completely unaided, the operation has already changed the youngster’s life as he can now walk with crutches – which he will use to walk to Lawfield Primary School in Dalkeith today.
His mother, Sandra Johnson, said that Jay’s life had been changed completely by the operation.
The 25-year-old, from Mayfield, Dalkeith, said: “It has led to him becoming a completely different child already.
“He is walking on crutches, which he could never have done before. We are ecstatic, it’s the best Christmas present ever. It’s like a dream come true.”
After the selective dorsal rhizotomy operation – a technique used to treat spasticity, or increased muscle tone, in the lower limbs – was carried out in St Louis on October 12, Jay spent three days, including his fifth birthday, in intensive care.
He then had to undergo a second operation on his heel cords and hamstrings before being released from hospital and starting an intensive three-week course of physiotherapy.
Jay will have to continue his physiotherapy for a year, by the end of which doctors believe he will be able to walk unaided.
Mrs Johnson said: “Jay could never have touched his toes before, but he can now.
“The doctor said he will be walking unaided within a year.
“All he keeps saying is that his legs feel really good and he wants to walk like me. He is going back to school and is taking his crutches. He can’t wait.”
The Johnson family, including Jay’s younger brother Rory, three, managed to raise £44,000 in just seven months to pay for Jay’s treatment, which is not widely available on the NHS, after he had asked his parents for a scooter. They now face another fundraising marathon to pay for his private physiotherapy treatment.
Mrs Johnson said: “We would really like to thank everybody who helped Jay. We are really grateful as we could never have done it without them.
“We are having to start fundraising again as Jay needs five sessions of physio a week, which cost £50 per hour.
“We have £2000 left over so we are using that to start with, then we are going to start fundraising again after Christmas.
“If we stopped doing the physio there would have been no point on him getting the operation, so it’s really important that he gets the sessions.”
She added: “He is 100 times happier now than he has ever been and is so much more confident. It’s been so emotional, we never thought it would happen. It’s been a miracle.”
* Anyone wishing to help Jay can donate to an account at the Royal Bank of Scotland with the sort code 83-17-26 and account number 00686773.