A MYSTERY benefactor has donated £8,000 so a disabled boy can have an operation which could see him walk unaided for the first time.
Football mad 10-year-old Lewis Munday’s family have spent the past year trying to raise £35,000 for the life-changing operation which has never been funded by the NHS in Gloucestershire.
And they are celebrating after reaching their target and getting a date for the surgery next month, which will hopefully allow Lewis to walk independently.
Lewis, from Tetbury, has spastic diplegic cerebral palsy, a condition which affects his muscles.
The St Mary’s School pupil has used a wheelchair or walker to get around since he was diagnosed with the condition when aged just 14 months.
A pioneering operation called Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy is scheduled to take place at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol on March 24.
Although other NHS trusts in the UK have funded the surgery, the authority in Gloucestershire turned down an application to pay for it for Lewis.
So his family, including his twin brother Jack, began a fundraising campaign supported by the Echo.
His mum Louise Ponting, a playgroup assistant, said: “Lewis is moving on to secondary school at Sir William Romney’s in September and although it is less than a mile away, it is his dream to walk to school on his first day.
“I really hope the operation will mean his wish comes true.
“We have had such amazing support from everyone and to get the last big donation has really taken the pressure of us.”
Louise said the campaign for Lewis had raised around £40,000 in total.
The remainder of the money will be spent on his physiotherapy treatment and sessions, and if there was any left it will be donated to help other children with the same condition.
Louise, a mum-of-four, added: “When we started fundraising around a year ago we never thought he would be having the operation so quickly.
“It has been the hardest thing I have ever done, even tougher than his diagnosis, and there were times we just wanted to give up trying.
“But I could not have given up lightly and for the operation to be going ahead is fantastic.”
Last weekend, Arsenal fan Lewis went on a trip to watch The Gunners beat Liverpool 2-1 in the FA Cup as a final treat before his surgery.
Louise said even though it was good news for Lewis, she wanted to continue to fight for a change in NHS policy so other children in the future would be able to have the same operation.
Four-year-old Skye Swinton from Cheltenham is back on her feet after her family raised the cash for the operation last year.