30 May 2010

One small step for Connor, one big step to help others

TEARS streamed down Wendy Jones's face as she watched her little boy take his very first steps.

Courageous Connor Lamb has learned how to walk – at the age of five.

"I counted as he went," said 30-year-old Wendy. "He managed 19 steps. How fantastic was that? We are really proud of him.
"It has taken him a long time to learn how to walk."
Connor was born with a life-threatening brain defect which delayed his development and movement. Following brain surgery, he was still unable to crawl at the age of three and was forced to spend his early years sitting on the floor.
Before his first birthday, Connor had endured two operations to treat his hydrocephalus, which is also known as fluid on the brain.
"He had a rough time after he was born," explains Wendy, who works as a teacher. "He spent his first Christmas in hospital after developing an infection and that set his development back even further.
"The first operation failed so he had to have another one. Surgery controls the conditions and allows people with hydrocephalus to lead a normal life.
"Surgeons fitted a shunt which drains the fluid from the brain. It was absolutely vital."
Connor, a pupil at Hilton Primary School, can now walk with the help of specialist splints which support his legs.
But Wendy, from Foston, believes Connor's success is all thanks to an independent therapy unit in Shropshire.
"Connor started going to the centre in 2008 and the changes in his development have been amazing," she said.

"We managed to secure funding from our local NHS trust and these sessions at the centre changed Connor's life. We can't thank enough the team who have worked with our son and helped him get on his feet.
"It has been an emotional journey but one which has a happy ending."
As a way of thanking The Movement Centre and highlighting its work, Connor asked his mum if he could raise money for the clinic.
On Sunday, he will set off on a sponsored walk around Branston Water Park.
With the help of his walking frame, and perhaps a hand from his mum and grandmother Daphne Broomfield, Connor plans to complete a short walk along the footpath.
"I don't know how far Connor will be able to go," said Wendy. "It's quite a walk. I think it would probably take me half an hour so Connor is going to need a little bit of help.
"But it's the taking part that counts and walking is his biggest achievement."
It is Connor's wish to raise enough money to pay for another child's treatment who might not be eligible for NHS funding. Each block of therapy, which can last a number of months, costs around £2,000. Connor needed two.

"It's very expensive," said Wendy. "But when you see how much it has helped Connor, you can't fail to want it for your child."
The Movement Centre, near Wales, is an independent, not-for-profit therapy centre dedicated to helping children with problems of movement control. It mainly deals with children with cerebral palsy and other severe conditions which affect mobility.
Wendy contacted the centre in July 2008 and asked if Connor could be assessed. After their first consultation, staff agreed to work with Connor.
"We were thrilled to get a place," said Wendy, who has another son, 22-month-old Reece. It was brilliant. I'd been told how wonderful it was and I really wanted Connor to go.
"I was desperate to help my son, that's why I got in touch.''
Connor started the programme only being able to sit on his bottom. He couldn't stand or walk or crawl.
Staff devised Connor his personal physiotherapy programme and made unique pieces of equipment to help him get around.

Between sessions at the unit, Wendy was shown how to help her son progress.
"I had to strap Connor into his frame for 30 minutes every day," said Wendy. "It supported him whilst he stood upright.
"The equipment helped to strengthen muscles and get him used to being in a vertical position. We also had lots of physiotherapy to do. We had targets to achieve.
"We went back to the unit every two months so the frame could be altered and his development assessed.
"We had two frames, together with physiotherapy and it really helped Connor find his feet. We had to do all kinds of exercises but the hard work paid off.
"In the beginning Connor learned how to pull himself up on things and then he was able to take his own weight.
"Within no time at all, he showed some positive results. I was thrilled. We all were. When we actually took his first steps I was totally overwhelmed. We all cried. It was so emotional."
Wendy and her partner, Stephen Lamb, 29, a duty manager for rail firm Stagecoach, believes life has never been better for Connor.

He loves school, has made some firm friends and is able to walk around like other five-year-old children. Specialist splints still aid his mobility, but they're not visible.
"He just wants to be like every other little boy," said Wendy. "And now he is. He's such a determined child. I'm so glad that he's done so well."
Wendy knew Connor had problems with his brain even before he was born. At her 20-week scan she was told that something was wrong with her unborn baby.
"I was totally devastated to hear that," said Wendy. "Connor was my first baby so it was just awful news to receive.
"I was transferred to Birmingham Women's Hospital where I had more tests.
"It was a worrying time because at first we didn't know exactly what would be wrong with Connor. Pregnancy defect – that's what medics banded about and that worried me even more."
After Connor was born he was transferred to Birmingham Children's Hospital where he was assessed. A scan confirmed he had hydrocephalus.
"It was exhausting," said Wendy. "We didn't know much about the condition and that worried us more.
"He had to have two operations on his brain and as a new mum I was petrified. We were in and out of hospital because he kept getting ill and developing infections."

Wendy has battled every step of the way to get the right treatment for her son and her hard work has paid off. Now she's enjoying a more laid back life with her two, very happy and very mobile children.
"I can't thank everyone enough for what they have done for Connor and me and my family," she said.
"Dig deep and help raise some money for Connor's walk – that's all I ask."
Penny Butler, lead physiotherapist at The Movement Centre, said: "We are thrilled to hear about Connor's sponsored walk. He has made such huge progress since he started coming to us.
"His efforts to raise money for us are much appreciated. Around 40% of the children we treat here do not secure NHS funding. This money could make such a difference to people's lives."

For ways to donate, e-mail Wendy at wendy19804@yahoo.co.uk

No comments:

Post a Comment