Family appeals for £65,000 to fund life-changing US op

The Oxford Times: Mum Sophie and Camren Mum Sophie and Camren

CAMREN Haines cannot stand due to cerebral palsy, and has to use his arms to pull himself along the playroom carpet.

But now, after doctors told his family that he would always need a wheelchair, there is a chance that Camren could walk.

The Kidlington four-year-old’s family need to raise £65,000 to travel to America for a life-changing operation that will enable him to take his first steps.

His mum Sophie said: “The expert in America said he will be able to walk with a walking frame.

“I have hope that maybe Camren will surpass what doctors think now and will be able to walk unaided. The sky’s the limit.”

Camren is using two-year-old Sophia Aitken, from Witney, as his role model, after she successfully had the procedure last year and can now take her first, tentative, steps unaided.

Camren was born prematurely at 27 weeks. When he was one year old, the family was told he had global developmental delay.

Three months later it was confirmed he had spastic quadriplegia, a form of cerebral palsy.

Last year Oxford Mail readers helped pay for Camren to have specialist physiotherapy at Footsteps in Dorchester-on-Thames, but now the stakes are higher.

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Full-time mum Mrs Haines, and husband Terry, 34, a commercial vehicle parts adviser, are determined to raise the cash. She said: “We’re going in January and I’m confident we’ll get it by then.”

The 28-year-old will be organising fundraising events in the coming months and has enlisted the support of charity Tree of Hope, which helps raise the profile of fundraising causes for children in need of medical equipment or treatment.

Camren, who begins school at West Kidlington Primary School in September, has been accepted to the programme at St Louis Children’s Hospital in St Louis, Missouri, and the money will be put towards flights, accommodation, operation costs, and equipment and physio for the weeks after the operation.

Also mum to 10-year-old Bethany, Mrs Haines said: “To be able to keep up with his friends and do normal things that other children do at his age would be amazing. The thought of him never dancing or playing football brings me to tears.”

She said: “Having this operation will drastically transform Camren’s future and maybe one day he will be able to realise his dream of becoming a fireman or a helicopter pilot.”

HOW SURGERY WORKS

THE selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) operation sees the bones of the spine in the lower back area opened to reveal the spinal cord.

Abnormal nerve roots causing the spasticity are identified by passing a small electrical current through them. The nerves that are not transmitting effectively, causing painful spasms and tensions, are cut.

The operation lasts about three hours, and patients need to lie completely flat for three days after the procedure.

Most NHS trusts do not fund the surgery, and UK doctors are reluctant to perform on children younger than eight or nine.

St Louis Children’s Hospital has the world’s leading SDR team, which has given hundreds of British children the operation.

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