Video: The hard work now starts for Lowestoft youngster Owen Baldry
14:10 23 November 2012
A Carlton Colville three-year-old has had ground-breaking surgery in America.
After a four-hour operation at the St Louis Children’s Hospital in America, the Carlton Colville youngster has embarked on the long road to recovery as he seeks to realise his dream of walking unaided.
The Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) surgery, to correct problems with Owen’s spine, was carried out last week by renowned American neurosurgeon Dr Tae Park.
But for Owen’s parents, Carl and Sacha, the operation has been just part of an “amazing” couple of weeks, which has seen their emotions fluctuating from nervous expectation to relief and huge delight.
Mr Baldry contacted The Journal this week to describe their feelings after travelling to America for the treatment they hope will transform Owen’s life.
He said: “Meeting Dr Park was fantastic. His predictions for Owen are that he will walk independently and, with hard work, play football.... amazing!
“Owen had to stay in his hospital bed for five days after the op, but on the third day he got up for a little while.”
On Saturday, Owen started his intense physio sessions and he was released from hospital on Sunday.
Mr Baldry said: “Already Owen can wiggle his toes, which he never could before and also we can move Owen’s legs like never before as he has no spasticity now.
“Owen now has to work hard to build these new muscles up, which he has never been able to use.”
The Baldrys will continue to make daily visits to St Louis Children’s Hospital, with Owen undergoing “physical therapy sessions” until they return home next month. Once back in Carlton Colville, Owen will continue to attend physio sessions, arranged privately and via the NHS, as he builds up his leg strength.
The optimistic outlook today is a far cry from the situation two years ago when Mr and Mrs Baldry, were told that Owen had a form of cerebral palsy and would probably never be able to walk.
Since then, with the support from hundreds of people across Waveney and beyond – including many Journal readers – more than £68,000 has been raised for the Owen’s Wish2Walk appeal.
It was this that allowed the Baldrys to travel to the US for the operation.
Mr Baldry said: “Owen has also been recommended to have his hamstrings and heel cords lengthened as his muscles have shortened due to lack of movement, so with this operation he will gain full movement and be able to reach his highest potential. “This small operation is next week and most kids with spastic diplegia need this at some point in their life. We’re just so pleased he will be getting this done with the best possible care.”