THE parents of Corin Potts have spoken of their excitement for the future after the four-year-old underwent life-changing surgery paid for by the Yate community.
James Potts and Faye Weeks said they accept there is no guarantee little Corin, who was born with cerebral palsy, will ever walk unaided.
But, they told the Gazette, they are eternally grateful to those who helped raise nearly £50,000 for the selective dorsal rhyzitomy operation which involved cutting 75 per cent of Corin's spinal nerves and extensive aftercare, for being able to give their son the chance to take his first steps.
"It is going to be gradual," said James, 31. "I think it will take about two years but it was always about giving him the chance.
"We weren’t sure about the operation when doctors said there was a 50 per cent chance of him walking but as soon they said there was no chance we had no choice but to go for it."
Said Faye, 26: "We are just really lucky he has a condition which is treatable.
"We know without the operation his mobility would have just deteriorated. We always want more but already the progression he has made has been fantastic."
Since the operation at Frenchay Hospital on December 11, Corin can now use his hands to express himself, feed himself unaided, sit cross-legged and flatten his feet for the first time. He is beginning to make walking patterns on his knees and can ride a specially-adapted bike without help.
The £25,000 operation, which was not available on the NHS, and Corin’s after-treatment and equipment was paid for by generous Gazette readers, anonymous donors and members of the public. Since an appeal Corin’s First Steps, which was backed by the Gazette, was launched in May 2012, a total of £48,000 has been raised through events, sponsored marathons, collections and concerts.
Corin, who attends Raysfield Pre-school, is now having four weekly sessions with a physiotherapist, is due to start specialised swimming lessons and is being encouraged to build up his muscle strength by his parents, who live in Woodchester with their seven-month-old daughter Inaya, on a daily basis.
Said Faye: "We were told that after the operation he would be like a baby. He isn’t but he is having to learn how to use his body in a completely different way. He has adapted really well and has been amazing.
"It is so nice to know we don’t have to worry about money, if Corin needs a piece of equipment we can buy it for him, and we will always be grateful to the people who raised the money."
James, who works for Royal Mail, said: "Only time will tell if he walks on his own. But one day he will want to live on his own and we want him to be as independent as possible. The operation was about giving him that chance."