A young boy who is unable to walk has been accepted for a potentially life-changing operation in America.
The family of little Wes Knight have spoken of their delight at the decision by the St Louis Children’s Hospital.
The lively two-year-old who was born prematurely and has cerebral palsy, is unlikely to be able to walk without the selective dorsal rhizotomy procedure which is offered by the hospital.
Now his parents, Tim and Catherine, from Guiseley, hope he will benefit from the procedure which has already transformed the lives of thousands of children.
They are expecting to get dates for surgery in April and are hoping to fly out to the US in the summer with Wes and their daughters Amelie and Isobel.
The operation, which costs more than £36,000, involves neurosurgery to reduce the muscle stiffness that prevents cerebral palsy sufferers from walking.
Wes may then need a further procedure and will need follow up care and three years of intensive physiotherapy.
His parents launched a website – wesleyswish.org – to help raise £95,000 for the operation and three years of intensive physiotherapy. They have already raised more than £40,000, and well-wishers are rallying round to help bring in more funds.
Tim and Catherine had to submit documents, x-rays and an MRI scan for scrutiny by experts in America before their son could be considered for the operation.
They said they were “emotional and thrilled” by the “amazing” news that he had been accepted.
Tim thanked everyone who had supported their appeal so far, and added: “What’s really fantastic is the number of local businesses and friends of ours who’ve stepped forward to support this final round of fundraising.
“It’s blown us away that so many parts of the community have pulled together to help out.” Among those raising money are Guiseley Lions who have teamed up with Leeds footballing star Gary McAllister to open a three-day beer festival for Wes from May 16 to 18.
On May 25 The Station Pub is staging a music festival with funds going towards the operation.
And all the local Nuffield Health gyms have agreed to run a sponsored bootcamp on May 3 – with the offer of a year’s free membership for whoever raises the most.