Family's bid to fund 'life-changing' operation for brave Kaiden, eight
- Credit: Victoria Pertusa
When little Kaiden Freeman was born at just 27 weeks, it was clear he would face life with greater challenges than other children.
By the time he was 11 months old he had been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, with his parents already having learned he suffered a bleed on his brain six weeks after his premature birth.
But in the face of adversity, Kaiden has grown to be just like your typical eight-year-old, his mum said, a "cheeky, funny and determined little boy".
And now his family, from Badersfield, is hoping to raise the funds for a "life-changing" operation to open up even more possibilities for him.
Shell Freeman, 38, Kaiden's mum, said: "At the moment he can move for very short bursts using a walker but spends the vast majority of his time in a wheelchair. The operation will mean he will be able to manoeuvre so much better.
"We just want to be able to give him the best quality of life we can and this operation would be just life-changing."
But the procedure will be a costly one, with the family needing to raise more than £30,000 to fund it and the months of physiotherapy he will subsequently need.
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And while Kaiden has already proven himself to be a determined, resilient lad, his condition does have an impact on his whole family
Mrs Freeman added "It does take its toll - you can underestimate just how much goes into looking after a child with a disability. It can be non--stop, from helping him to do simple things like going to the toilet to appointment after appointment. It can be really, really hard.
"It can also be quite tough for his older sister, Alexi, who is 11. She is fantastic and looks after him so well, but whenever we see people it is always 'how is Kaiden getting on' and not 'how is Alexi' and perhaps she gets a little forgotten. We really feel for her."
She added: "He is just such a determined and happy little boy, always trying to make people laugh.
"He probably won't ever be able to walk without his frame, but it is all about getting him to that next step and going from there."
To support the campaign, visit https://just4children.org/children-helped2020/kaidens-cp-journey/
About the operation
The operation Kaiden is hopeful of receiving is called selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR), which is a spinal procedure that treats muscle spasticity, a symptom of his cerebral palsy.
Initially, the family had been led to believe he wasn't a suitable candidate for it, but after seeking a second opinion for Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool they are now hopeful he will be able to secure a slot by the end of the year.
It is the same operation that the family of four-year-old Harper Sharrocks has successfully managed to fundraise for.
Harper also lives with cerebral palsy and her family too turned to the community for support in funding the treatment.
So far, Mrs Freeman and husband Gavin, 40, have been able to raise close to £10,000 towards Kaiden's medical fees, particularly with the help of her colleagues at Car Shop in Norwich.