In pictures: Little Blake Barley from Dereham’s amazing recovery
- Credit: Matthew Usher
These heart-warming pictures will melt the heart of every parent or grand-parent. They chart a young boy's brave battle with an illness which five years ago left him unable to walk.
Born with a rare form of cerebral palsy Blake Barley, from Dereham, was expected to spend much of his life in a wheelchair.
But family, friends and supporters rallied round to support an appeal launched by the Dereham Times. In just six months they raised £80,000 to send him to America for an operation.
As they left the St Louis Children's Hospital and set off for their home in Toftwood on Christmas Day, 2011 Blake's mum Debbie, dad Luke, brother Bryce and sister Beth just wanted to see him be able to walk unaided and run, jump and play like other children.
The operation, carried out five days earlier, was a complete success. Now Blake who can not only walk unaided but also run, jump, swim - and even do karate.
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Mrs Barley said her son's progress was 'absolutely unbelievable'.
Blake, who is now aged eight, was born 10 weeks premature and developed a form of cerebral palsy after suffering a bleed on his brain.
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Stiffness in his leg muscles meant he could only walk on tiptoes and needed to wear leg splints to force his heels to the ground.
Young Blake still needs to undergo regular physiotherapy and his condition continues to cause him some problems. He struggles with balance and co-ordination and can tire easily. His next goals are to learn to roller-skate, ride a bike and skip.