Op hope for Jay as family achieve the ‘impossible’

IT seemed an “impossible” task to raise £40,000 in just seven months.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 21st September 2011, 3:25 pm

But Sandra and Paul Johnson only had to look at their son Jay to find the inspiration to keep going.

Now the couple, from Dalkeith, have finally raised enough money to send four-year-old Jay to the US for life-changing surgery.

The Lawfield Primary pupil has cerebral palsy and is wheelchair-bound, but it is hoped that the operation will enable him to walk for the first time.

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Along with his parents and younger brother Rory, two, he will travel to Missouri on October 8 in preparation for his operation just three days later.

Jay will be put into an induced coma while the selective dorsal rhizotomy – a technique used to treat spasticity, or increased muscle tone, in the lower limbs – is carried out.

He will remain in hospital for five days, spending his fifth birthday there, before undergoing three weeks of intensive physiotherapy.

Mrs Johnson, 25, said she was excited but nervous about the ordeal her son faces.

She said: “We are excited about it but it’s a big operation so it’s really worrying as well.

“Jay tells everyone that once he has his operation, he is going to walk.

“He understands every single part of it.”

On his return to Scotland, Jay will have to undergo further physiotherapy as he learns to walk. It could a year before the youngster can take his first steps unaided.

As with the life-changing operation – a treatment which is not widely available on the NHS – Mr and Mrs Johnson will have to pay for Jay’s after-care themselves. They have already raised £3000 for this care after receiving a donation from Cash for Kids.

The couple received generous donations from the Mayfield-based McSence Group, a social enterprise, and Zenith Structural Access Solutions in Loanhead to help take them to their £40,000 total.

Traditional fundraising events such as kids’ fun days, a sponsored run, a bungee jump and charity nights also brought in thousands of pounds.

Mrs Johnson said she could not believe the kindness that has been shown, often by complete strangers.

She added: “It was only seven months so the fundraising went really well.

“It seemed impossible to start with.

“But we would do anything for any of our sons, anybody would.

“People who we don’t even know have donated money, it’s been unbelievable and we can’t thank the community enough.”

Anyone wishing to donate to help with Jay’s after-care can deposit money in an account at the Royal Bank of Scotland with the sort code 83-17-26 and account number 00686773.

A Facebook page has also been created, which can be accessed by searching for HelpJayJohnsonToWalk.