Date set for Kai’s operation

Caron and Kai Hodgkinson. Kai has a date for his operation to help him walk unaided.
Caron and Kai Hodgkinson. Kai has a date for his operation to help him walk unaided.

Little Kai Hodgkinson is more excited about his new tablet computer than the fact he will have an operation in October to help him walk.

The five-year-old is delighted with the present from his mum Caron – designed to keep him entertained in the days when he has to lie completely still following his surgery.

But for Caron, news that the much-anticipated operation will take place on 
October 2 has triggered lots of emotions.

With Kai’s dad, Brian Roberts, the couple, of Lawnswood Avenue, have waited almost two years for the date.

They have fund-raised to almost breaking point for their family to get enough money together to pay for the operation, which will eventually see Kai walk unaided.

And, although Caron is 
delighted that it is finally going to happen, she is naturally full of trepidation.

She said: “I am really nervous. I’ve had all the paperwork through detailing the operation and about all the bits that can go wrong.

“It’s weird really, I feel a bit deflated.”

Kai has cerebral palsy and, like any other five-year-old, he is constantly on the go.

His cerebral palsy however limits movement in his legs and has always needed aids to help him get around.

But the selective dorsal rhizotomy operation, which involves snipping nerves in the spine which inhibit movement, should relieve the tension in his muscles.

The family initially launched a campaign to raise money to take Kai to America for the surgery. But in the end it was agreed he could have it done privately in Leeds. They have raised more than £40,000.

“We have worked so hard over the last two years with the fund-raising, and it’s all over. This is it, this is what we have done it all for.

“We’ve explained to Kai about the operation and about how he will have to stay in bed for a few days afterwards.

“That’s why we have bought him a tablet, he can play games and watch Cbeebies.

“But he can’t grasp it really, he’s no idea about the hard work afterwards, all the physio and exercise he will have to do.

“We are looking ahead though, it will make the world of difference to him.

“It’s been tough going fund-raising, such hard work on top of everything else. But without the support from the community, from the Weekly News for publicising it, we would never have been able to do it.”