Caldicot tot can have pioneering op in UK

Free Press Series: Caldicot tot can have pioneering op in UK Caldicot tot can have pioneering op in UK

A CALDICOT mum aiming to raise £40,000 for a pioneering procedure to help her daughter walk independently has been told she can have the operation in the UK.

Catherine Ashwell-Rice, 36, of Lapwing Avenue, has spoken of her relief that two-year-old Imogen Ashwell-Lewis has been accepted at a hospital closer to home, rather than having to travel to the St Louis Children’s Hospital, Missouri.

Ms Ashwell-Rice said: “We were told last week by her neurosurgeon that Imogen has been accepted to have the operation at Bristol Children’s Hospital.

“I’m over the moon that we don’t have to travel to America.”

“Having the surgery locally will mean I can still see my other children and that they can visit Imogen,” added the mum-of-eight.

“If we had needed to travel to America it would have been very hard for us all as a family to be separated. I’m sure regular visits from her family will aid Imogen’s recovery when the time comes.”

She said surgery in America would potentially have cost more with travel and accommodation costs.

The Free Press-backed appeal to raise funds for the procedure, intensive physiotherapy and aftercare was launched seven weeks ago and has raised over £7,000.

Imogen suffers from a debilitating nerve-muscle condition known as spastic diplegia cerebral palsy which means that she walks on her toes, has stiffness in her legs and poor balance and coordination. She relies on a specially-made wheelchair to get her around.

The procedure, known as selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) will help avoid further muscle deterioration and stiffness.

It involves removing bone from one vertebrae and making an incision in the spine to divide nerve roots that contribute to the spasticity, giving more balance and enabling the patient to walk. More than 1,900 children have successfully been treated at the hospital in Missouri, enabling them to live active lives.

Forthcoming events are a family fun day at the Severn View Social Club, Caldicot featuring stalls, a bouncy castle and a fire engine, between 11am and 4pm and a charity car wash by Chepstow Fire Station at Tesco in Chepstow, between 9am and 1pm, both on March 29.

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