By MARK BOGGIS
Sunday, May 11, 2014
He may have realised his dream of taking his first steps unaided.
But little Owen Baldry is still making big strides – and today (Sunday) he helped kick-off a charity football match as fund-raising continues for the treatment that is helping to change his life.
After being diagnosed with cerebral palsy (spastic diplegia) when he was 22-months-old, Owen faced pain and discomfort on a daily basis.
But in January 2012, his parents Carl and Sacha launched Owen’s Wish2Walk appeal as they began the mammoth task of raising the £50,000 needed for a life-changing operation in America – and people across Norfolk and Waveney rallied round in support.
Owen, now five, has made a rapid recovery since he underwent selective dorsal rhizotomy surgery (SDR) in St Louis and his father, Carl Baldry, says he can now do “400 complete independent steps”.
“Owen is working very hard and is achieving so much, and while he still has a long way to go with his journey for full independence, he is heading in the right direction,” he said. “It is absolutely amazing. To have Owen in his football kit, kicking a ball and taking steps on the pitch is phenomenal.”
This afternoon at Crown Meadow – the home of the triumphant Lowestoft Town side – the Wish2walk appeal staged the final match of the season at the newly-promoted club’s ground. The match between FC Drifter and Carlton Colville Town, managed by Mr Baldry, was contested for the Carlton Charity Cup, with funds raised for Owen’s appeal helping with costs needed for regular physiotherapy sessions.
Mr Baldry added: “The last 16 months has seen Owen progress so much, but none of this would have been possible without the help of the people of Lowestoft.”
■ You can donate to the appeal via www.justgiving.com/owenswish2walk