Mum praises the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital for helping her young son to walk

A mum has praised the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital team who has helped her young son to walk.

Five-year-old Rhys Franklin, from Swardeston, near Norwich, was diagnosed with hemiplegia cerebral palsy in 2008 when he was just over a year old. His condition meant he had trouble standing and walking unaided because of tight muscle tone on his right side. But following much treatment - including physiotherapy, and botox and a half-hour operation to release tightness in his muscles - he is now able to stand and walk on his own although he wears splints to keep his feet and legs in the right positions.

His mum Heidi Franklin, 36, said she was so proud of Rhys, who goes to Mulbarton Infant School, when he took his first unaided steps in February this year following his operation in November.

She said: 'I want to say thank you to the physiotherapy department and to Rhys' surgeon Rachael Hutchinson - if it was not for them he would not be walking like he does.'

She said Rhys has always had a smile on his face but would get frustrated because of his difficulties walking, and he is now much happier since the success of his treatment.

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'He walks about on his own, and he tries to run on his own - sometimes he falls over but he just laughs when he does,' she said, adding that Rhys' twin brother Kyle is always there to help him.

Mrs Franklin said she hoped Rhys' story would show other parents who have children with cerebral palsy that there are options available instead of an operation called selective dorsal rhizotomy - a neurosurgical technique used to treat spasticity (increased muscle tone) in the lower limbs - which requires major invasive and irreversible surgery and is rarely funded in the UK by the NHS.

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