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(Updated: 11 Nov 2013)

Help Daniel Find His Feet

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(Target: 54,000)

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Daniel Morgan's journey to life changing surgery in America

The diagnosis...

Since then...

Why SDR?

Daniel was born on 18 March, 2006. He was a placid and smiling baby, but by the time he was 6 months old we noticed that he was not able to hold toys, and was showing no signs of sitting up. By the time he was a year old he was still unable to sit, roll over, or pick up toys off the floor. We were referred to a paediatrician, who organized an MRI scan of Daniel’s brain and we also started physiotherapy. The MRI showed that Daniel had damage to the white matter in his brain, which results in the wrong messages being sent to muscles in his arms and legs; in other words he had cerebral palsy.

At 18 months old, Daniel could sit unaided but could not do much else physically. He started at Battledown Centre for Children and Families in Cheltenham, a pre-school for children with special needs, and also attended a mainstream nursery for a couple of mornings each week. Over the next couple of years it became apparent that Daniel was a smart little boy, who was quick to learn things like letters and had good language skills, but as hard as Daniel tried, he made extremely slow progress physically and his disability was really starting to show itself. It was hard for him to watch his younger sister learning to crawl and walk, when he could not. A few weeks before his fourth birthday he got his first wheelchair.

Every few months Daniel attends the Brainwave Centre in Bridgwater, Somerset. His physiotherapist there assesses his progress since the last visit and sets a physiotherapy programme for us to follow at home every day. With a lot of hard work, this has allowed Daniel to make steady but very slow progress.

He has had two sets of Botox injections into his legs to release the muscles, but the effects are only temporary.

Since September 2010, Daniel has attended Leckhampton Primary School. He loves school, but gets incredibly fatigued and he finds it extremely difficult to hold a pen and to write. He is becoming more and more aware that he can’t walk or run like all his friends and his sister. In many ways he is just a normal six year old boy; he is obsessed with Star Wars, loves being in the swimming pool and playing with his friends. However, his disability means that he sometimes has to turn down party invitations because he won’t be able to take part in the planned activity and he has to travel separately on school trips because he cannot climb the steps on to the coach to travel with the other children.

But this could change. Daniel has been accepted for potentially life changing surgery, called Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy, with Dr TS Park, at St Louis Children’s Hospital in the USA. Dr Park said in his acceptance letter:

"We feel that Daniel is an excellent candidate for the Rhizotomy surgery. If he has the surgery we expect the following improvements:

- His spasticity will be permanently reduced.

- His sitting and standing postures will improve.

- His transitions between postures will be easier and faster,

- His balance and level of comfort will both improve.

- We feel that Daniel will achieve at least crutch walking independently in all environments. Further assessment in clinic is needed to determine if he will be able to do any independent ambulation without a device."

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For Daniel, the idea of walking with crutches is something he can only dream of at present. It would allow him to access so many places and activities that he cannot even attempt as a wheelchair user, and would hugely increase the likelihood of him being independent as an adult. He deserves this chance. Please help us give him this opportunity to “find his feet”.

Help Daniel Find His Feet