PARENTS are fighting for funding to pay for a life-changing operation which could help their six-year-old son walk.
Ronnie Foster, of Hatley Gardens, Benfleet, was born with diplegic spastic cerebral palsy in 2007, which means both of his legs are very stiff and he is unable to walk unaided.
Dad Anthony Foster, 33, and mum Kylie Foster, 40, were told in March that Ronnie, who attends Jotmans Hall Primary School, in High Road, was eligible for an operation.
It could help him to walk again – but costs £26,000.
The possibility of the operation, called selective dorzal rhizotomy, being carried out on the NHS is in doubt after funding for it was cut last year.
Mr Foster said: “We were referred to Great Ormond Street in March, where Ronnie was accepted for the operation.
“But they decided to withdraw this from funding because they probably thought it wasn’t worth it. But we could still get help and we’re due to hear back from the NHS in the next couple of weeks.”
The family are already raising money for physiotherapy with a target of £20,000, which Ronnie will need for up to 18 months after the operation.
However, if the NHS decides not to fund Ronnie, the family would have to increase the fundraising target to £46,000 and delay the operation.
The surgery involves cutting out affected nerves in the spine, which will in turn improve Ronnie’s mobility.
Mr Foster added: “He enjoys school and gets on with it. He doesn’t have a care in the world, but a few weeks ago he was in the bath when he turned around and said he wants to walk again.
“He used to have botox injections put into his leg, but he didn’t want this anymore. We really need this operation for him.”
For more information on Ronnie’s condition or to donate, visit, www.justgiving.com/ronnieswishtowalk Or you can email Mr Foster at firstname.lastname@example.org