BRAVE 10-year-old Lewis Munday is staying positive despite his life-changing surgery being cancelled as he was waiting to go into the operating theatre.
Lewis and his mum Louise Ponting, 29, were waiting on the ward at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol when they were told the surgery had to be postponed because the anaesthetist had fallen ill.
The Tetbury boy, who has spastic diplegic cerebral palsy, was due to have surgery which could see him walk unaided for the first time.
But, with no other specially qualified anaesthetist available, the procedure had to be delayed for up to 28 days.
Despite the setback, Louise said both she and Lewis are remaining positive.
“Lewis was absolutely gutted but he did say that he would rather be safe than risk it.
“I was really gutted and I still am, but we’re looking on the bright side.
“It’s still going to happen. We’ve waited a year for it and it’s an operation which is going to change his life.”
She added that other people who were due to have surgery at Frenchay on March 24 also had their operations cancelled, and that she does not blame the hospital.
“It’s just one of those things,” she said.
“The surgeon was just as gutted as we were.”
Because the NHS in Gloucestershire would not fund the operation for Lewis, his family had to raise £35,000 to have it done privately at the hospital.
They were supported by people across Tetbury in their fundraising efforts and reached the target in February when a mystery benefactor donated £8,000.
Louise said those who have supported Lewis were devastated to hear that the operation had been postponed, but are also staying positive.
“I think the whole of Tetbury’s heart sank when they heard the news,” she said.
Louise said that another positive is that Lewis had a “dry run” of the hospital routine leading up to the surgery and is now calmer about going under the knife.
“He has come out of it better than he was before because he has been through a dry run,” she said.
Lewis, who is a pupil at St Mary’s School in Tetbury, has used a wheelchair or walker to get around since he was diagnosed with the condition aged just 14 months.
A pioneering operation called selective dorsal rhizotomy could lead to him walking independently.
Although other NHS Trusts in the UK have funded the operation, the authority in Gloucestershire turned down Lewis’ application.
Among the events to help raise the £35,000 was a football match between the Lashings All-Stars Squad and Tetbury Town FC at Cirencester Town FC’s ground in September last year.
Ex-England stars including Tony Cottee, Nigel Winterburn, Neil Webb, Kerry Dixon, Mark Wright and Des Walker took part in the match.