‘He’s our little warrior’ - Tommy's challenge for life-changing surgery
- Credit: Picture: MONUMENT FAMILY
Tommy Monument was just days old when he underwent surgery, leaving him with a serious brain injury.
But more than three years on, this brave tot has proved that with support and determination, anything is possible.
When the Monument family started their £80,000 fundraiser – Team Tommy’s Marathon Month – to provide Tommy with vital, life-changing surgery, they never imagined how much support they would discover rallying behind them.
With the right equipment he is able to do anything, but one thing which never leaves his body is the spasticity caused by cerebral palsy. Which is why the family decided to embark on the huge fundraiser for him to undergo selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) surgery - a life-changing spinal operation.
While Tommy is unable to sit, stand or walk unaided, and suffers daily discomfort and pain. Having the operation will not only improve his quality of life but it will also give him the best chance of living independently and the ability to walk.
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Mother, Alex Monument, of Wroxham, said she was "so, so grateful" to all the people who helped.
“We’ve been incredibly lucky and are very grateful to all those who were able to support Tommy's fundraising,” she said. “We’ve had such amazing messages and offers of help.
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“It’s hard to comprehend just how much this will change Tommy’s life.
“Without SDR he would be likely to have a number of invasive surgeries throughout his childhood and SDR will give him the best chance of avoiding most of not all of them.
“After surgery he will be comfortable and be able to relax his legs immediately which will be such a difference for him.
“In terms of what he will then be capable of - we’re very optimistic that he’ll be mobile and we can’t wait to see what he is capable of. He is a very determined little boy.”
Currently the surgery is not available to Tommy on the NHS and would cost up to £34,000. In addition, an intensive physiotherapy programme is needed before and after the procedure to get the best possible outcome for Tommy, with each private session costing £75.
Throughout October, the twins walked and whizzed their way through a marathon to raise funds for Tommy’s much-needed surgery. They completed the 26.2 miles over 31 days in support of Just4Children, the charity raising funds so Tommy can have his surgery.
Now, the family have been able to celebrate reaching the finishing line.
Tommy and his sister Eva were born prematurely at 32 weeks old. The pair had a challenging start to life, and was Tommy diagnosed with a diaphragmatic hernia and given a 50pc chance of surviving.
He had surgery at three days old and was doing well until an infection left him in a life-threatening condition with a serious brain injury.
It caused irreparable damage to Tommy’s brain called periventricular leukomalacia and, at seven months old, he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy affecting all four of his limbs.
Mrs Monument added: “Tommy was very excited to do his marathon in October and is looking forward to seeing his ‘special doctor’ in London again soon.
“We’re putting in place physio weekly before SDR then hopefully in April we’ll be able to proceed with surgery, then it will be intensive rehab afterwards while tommy re-learns how to move his body.”
The family reached the target in two months after donations from more than 1,200 people flooded in.
They also recently supported World diabetes Day, as Eva was diagnosed with the condition just over a year ago, to raise awareness of Type 1, support fundraising for JDRF and diabetes UK.