A Scarborough couple have started a campaign to raise £100,000 for their son’s life-changing operation.
Max Turner was born six weeks premature, along with his sister Alice, but during birth Max suffered lack of oxygen to his brain and was later diagnosed with cerebral palsy spastic diplegia.
Cath and Paul Turner believe now is the time to start fundraising for an operation known as SDR (Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy) to increase the chances of Max being able to live and walk independently.
Unfortunately, the treatment is not available on the NHS so the family have applied to the world-leading paediatric neurosurgeon, Dr TS Park in St Louis, Missouri.
The mum-of-three discovered the surgery through joining cerebral palsy groups on Facebook and chatting to people who have shared stories about the condition.
Paul, 38, said: “The operation itself will cost £50,000 and the remaining £40-45,000 will pay for three years’ intensive physio after the surgery then the left over money will go towards travel to America.
“We have to stay in America for three weeks and have two weeks’ physio there. The operation includes cutting some of the nerves in the spine to reduce resistance in his muscles.
“Max has maximum resistance in his muscles so he fights against resistance – for example to stretch his arm out straight he really struggles and has to put in a lot of effort to get it straight.”
Currently, three-year-old Max can’t walk and struggles to get into one position to another.
The couple, who met at Scalby School, have received help from the NHS for Max’s condition including physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, but Paul describes the NHS as “so stretched” that they need outside help.
The NHS have provided the family with one chair, one walking and standing frame and one hour physiotherapy every week on four-week rotations – meaning that Max goes for four weeks without physiotherapy.
Although grateful for the help they have received, Paul added: “They provide one of everything, but you need more than one chair.
“Max will start preschool in September and they don’t have the equipment there, so if we want a chair there we will have to provide one.
“Even bath seats and chairs for restaurants are an issue because he is too big to fit in their highchairs.
“It’s just to live comfortably and a normal life basically.”
Some of the equipment needed for Max has been fundraised by friends, family and different groups around town though fundraising events and challenges.
Desperate to help their son, Paul and Cath also pay for private physiotherapy from Hull which costs £130 per session.
They organise this because on a four-week break from the NHS physiotherapy, it is extremely important for Max to receive physiotherapy, as it is key to helping Max towards gaining good head control, core strength and a good range of mobility.
The couple said: “Difficulties aside, Max is a beautiful boy and melts our hearts with his infectious smile and is very chatty alongside Alice and he makes us proud every day.
“He loves nothing more than being with his sisters and friends and giggling and joining in. He is very determined and hopefully, with the love and support from our friends and family, he will be able to lead a fully independent life.”
The start of the Turner’s fundraising campaign ‘#GetMaxMoving’ will kick off with a summer fun day at St Mark’s Church, Newby.
From noon to 3pm, on Saturday September 1, there will be stalls and games including tombola, raffle, bouncy castle, face painting, craft stalls, BBQ and refreshments.
The second instalment of the fundraiser will attempted by Paul as he, along with three friends, will cycle the Coast2Coast.
On Friday September 21, Paul Turner, Andy Coole, Ian Perrelle and Steve Yates will begin their journey from Morecambe to Scarborough over the course of three days.
Other events are being planned including the Yorkshire Three Peaks and even fundraising in Africa.
Keep updated with the family’s fundraising or donate at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/getmaxmoving