Time I brought you the latest news and update on little George, the son of one of my nephews, who’s almost 13 years old now and definitely not little. He’s turning into a very handsome young man.
Many of you may remember George was born with cerebral palsy and, at the time, doctors deemed he would have no quality of life, his hearing and eyesight were also not good and would have no movement or control over his body. But George proved them all wrong. His parents never gave up hope despite the hard work and constant fight to get him the help he needed. The first 4 years were spent in constant rounds of physio at the wonderful Footsteps Foundation in the UK, the family constantly fundraising to pay for the treatment. We had many enjoyable fundraising walks under the “George’s First Steps” banner.
It’s hard to believe it was 7 years ago when all the family were busy crowdfunding to raise the £55,000 in order to send him to St Louis, Missouri where he was offered the chance of a life-changing SDR operation. People climbed mountains, had heads shaved, did charity walks and ran marathons (read more), and thanks to the generosity of so many people, made it happen. The operation was successful but still hard daily rounds of physio were needed as he was still unable to walk without aids and was at times in pain. It later transpired he had misaligned hips too. Consequently, he had to undergo yet more major surgery to correct the problem. You may recall the photo of him with a metal frame pinned through his body. Yet, despite all the little lad went through, he was always smiling, always laughing, and a happy child who was fun to be with.
Last year, after 5 years of 3-monthly trips to the Bristol Children’s Hospital, major hip surgery, an incredibly tough rehab, setbacks and a pretty worrying time all round, in yet another operation, all the metalwork in his body was successfully removed. His hips had recovered 100%, his left leg completely healed, and a perfect hip Xray for the first time. At last, he had a good range of movement, leaving his surgeon and his parents very happy, especially being told George should never need any more surgery. It was the best news ever for his parents who have endured an incredible amount over these 12+ years. A lot of worry, expense, and hard work on all three’s behalf with the constant physio George needs. Help will be needed for life.
George always amazes us. He rarely complains, he pushes himself as hard as he can as he so wants to be able to walk and be as independent as he can be given the circumstance. He loves his little sister, enjoys jokes, playing games, teasing and having fun, like any child. He enjoys school and doing well, loves karaoke, and has lots of friends, then along came lockdown.
He struggled with it at first, like all teenagers missing his friends, the play and the fun, the lessons, not fully understanding what was happening in the world. And his parents miss his carer. He’s a big lad and heavy to lift now and needs a lot of help, so his parents have had their work cut out. I haven’t seen him since Christmas, but my niece tells me he’s now coping well and still the happy, giggly George we so love.
He’s settled down to doing his schoolwork at home, usually with his little sister sitting at the table helping him. But he does miss surfing, which he loves, always going into hysterics whenever he has a wipe-out, and can’t wait to go again. And he missed his outings to his favourite restaurant where he always has his favourite meal including a hot chocolate. I was delighted to hear last week that he could finally meet up with his PA, who took him there for lunch, and guess what he ordered? His favourite, oh, and a hot chocolate! So for him, and the rest of us, life is slowly getting a little normality back.
George and his family live in a lovely part of the North Devon coast, which has meant they have been able to have many pleasurable secluded walks, but because of being home all the time, not able to have his regular physio sessions, and due to the fact he has grown so much, his legs are stiff, making his walking extra hard work. What doesn’t help is that he’s also outgrown his trike which allowed him some independence, and he’s now in urgent need of a new one.
A Tomcat Bullet has been trialled. George loved it as he is unable to ride a standard bicycle. For the first time since hip surgery he was able to peddle independently. A huge achievement for him. A huge smile on his face. The beauty and benefit of this trike is it grows with him up to a maximum size of 6’2″, meaning he shouldn’t need another one. But like all things like this, sadly they come at a price. With his parents furloughed, money is tight and they need help. Charities here in the UK have been approached but because of Covid, they are not accepting applications. But not to beaten, the family are crowdfunding once more in order to buy one. We’re halfway to raising the required £5,000 thanks to the many donations already made. We’ve still a way to go, but we’ll get there. And no doubt, sister Daisy will enjoy rides on it too.
If you would like to donate, no matter how small, the family, and George especially, will be exceedingly grateful. Thank you.
Here’s the link: https://gf.me/u/ybrgtk
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Thanks, Jo. He’s an inspiration to us all to always keep smiling and laughing, no matter what life throws at us. 🙂
Lovely to keep up with George’s progress Kit, thank you so much for posting x