An eight-year-old boy is on course to walk for the first time after successfully undergoing pioneering surgery in the US.
Glen Wilkie, from Foynes, Co Limerick, was born with cerebral palsy, a condition which had prevented him from being able to sit or walk unaided.
But the youngster’s dream of kicking a ball with his friends is set to become reality following surgery last Thursday at St Louis Children’s Hospital in Missouri.
Glen’s mother Margaret said yesterday she was thrilled. “The surgery lasted four hours and everything went perfectly,” she said. “Glen is recovering in hospital now, but the surgeon told us it couldn’t have gone any better.
“He has a long road ahead before he takes his first steps, but the success of this operation means that one day he will definitely walk, which is something I once never thought I’d see. There’s only one person happier than me and that’s Glen. On the morning of his surgery, he was jumping around with excitement, telling everyone it was the best day of his life, because he’d waited eight years for his operation.
“He said the thing he’s most looking forward to do is being able to play football with his friends.”
A few weeks ago, it looked like Glen’s operation was in jeopardy, as Margaret said she feared she could not raise the €60,000 to cover travel and operation expenses.
“I was seriously worried, because we had to pay for the operation in advance and at one point I had to raise about €10,000 every week for three weeks,” she said. “But a mother never gives up and we’ve had great support from the likes of Bressie and Crystal Swing. This is the greatest gift I could give him and I wasn’t going to let him down.”
* For more information, see www.glenwilkie.org
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