It’s a giant step forward for battling Kai

Comedian Ryan Gleeson is fundraising for Kai Hodgkinson by doing a week of challenges and chores.
Comedian Ryan Gleeson is fundraising for Kai Hodgkinson by doing a week of challenges and chores.

Every day has been a positive step forward for Kai Hodgkinson.

The youngster, who had a specialist operation 16 months ago to help him walk, has surpassed all expectations and has made huge progress.

Now seven-year-old Kai, who has cerebral palsy, is walking downstairs, swimming and walking practically unaided – things he could only have dreamed about before the surgery.

Backed by the Fleetwood Weekly News, Kai’s family launched the Kick Start for Kai campaign to raise money so he could have the operation privately in Leeds.,

The generosity of local people and through several fund-raising events, £36,000 was raised to send him for the surgery.

Proud mum Caron Hodgkinson, who now lives in Poulton, said: “It was the best decision I’ve ever made and there should be more awareness about SDR.

“It’s such a shame because there’s so many parents out there who don’t know about it.

“The impact on how much it has helped Kai has been amazing.

“He is seven now and barely even mentions his disability anymore, he is so much more confident.

“He has so much more movement in his feet now, even little things like walking down the stairs has been so much easier for him.

“These are things most things people take for granted, but Kai struggled so badly.

“However, he’s come on so much and with his private physio, Lee, who we have worked with his since his operation, his strength has improved along with his walking.

“Lee has been taking him swimming for about six weeks now and the confidence he has in the water is amazing.

“Just standing in water before was a struggle but he’s loving every session now.”

The Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy operation isn’t widely available in the UK and until recently was only performed in the States.

The micro-neurosurgery involves identifying and cutting spinal nerves which cause stiffness and pain. It’s a complex procedure and is not suitable for everyone.It also involves rigorous pre and post operation physiotherapy.

Caron added: “He does sometimes need his walking frame but only for long walks because sometimes he still walks on his toes, but that is down to habit.

“Kai’s consultant Dr John Gooden was so thrilled with his progress.

“He was amazed at how easy he walks, even trying to run and skip”

“It has been a tough year but along with Kai’s brothers and sisters we work with him every day .

“To see this result has been worth every second.”