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Brave Charlie Mitchell, 5, will now receive life-changing cerebral palsy surgery

By The Citizen  |  Posted: April 24, 2014

  • Charlie Mitchell

  • Charlie MItchell, centre, with his parents and Lydney Academy pupils

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CHARLIE Mitchell can have a life-saving operation following the “overwhelming” generosity of people in the Forest of Dean and beyond.

The five-year-old from Sling, near Coleford, will receive surgery to rid him of the cerebral palsy-associated frailties that have blighted him since birth.

Donations from far and wide have well exceeded the £25,000 needed to send him to the Bristol Children’s Hospital for the pioneering treatment.

His mum Sarah, 32, said: “We have reached our target and have exceeded it. I am going to have to write and thank everybody for their support; it has been humbling and amazing.

“Even strangers have donated significant amounts of money – it has been truly overwhelming.”

The donations will ensure Charlie can receive selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR), a neurosurgical procedure aimed at reducing spasticity, tight and stiff muscle tone in the lower limbs, which is not provided by the NHS. Charlie was born prematurely at just 29 weeks, suffered brain damage and developed spastic diplegia, a rare and devastating form of cerebral palsy which will worsen as he grows.

An excess of £10,000 has also been raised which will be given to the Coleford Children’s Opportunity Centre which supports parents of young people who suffer with a disability.

Schools and colleges across the district have held fundraising events but Charlie’s father Jonathan also boosted proceeds by completing the Three Peaks Challenge and the London to Paris Bike Ride within three weeks.

Sarah said the fundraising drive only started in November and she now hopes Charlie will receive his treatment in the summer.

She said: “He has got a lot of spasticity in his lower limbs so he gets very tired and can’t stand still without holding on to things.

“This will reduce the spasticity he has and enable him to have flat feet, stand still and hopefully reduce the pain he is in.

“Not many people have heard of it or know much about it but I am sure one day it will be available on the NHS but that will be a few years from now.”

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