Boy to get life-changing operation after £40,000 fundraising effort

An eight-year-old boy with cerebral palsy is to have an operation to improve his mobility after his mother’s colleagues at a used car firm helped raise £40,000 to fund the surgery.

Kaiden Freeman, from Norwich, was born three months early weighing just 2lbs 10oz (1.2kg).

He was initially diagnosed with the brain injury Periventricular leukomalacia (PVL) before being diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 11 months.

This limits control of Kaiden’s arms, legs and body, and he uses a wheelchair most of the time.

His mother Michelle Freeman said Kaiden is “such a happy, smiley little boy” and has learnt to walk short distances with the support of a walker.

She learnt of a spinal operation, called Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR), that could help him, but said he does not meet criteria for NHS funding as his cerebral palsy is too severe.

The surgery involves operating on nerves in the spinal column.

Mrs Freeman set up a fundraising web page and once her colleagues at CarShop heard about the appeal, they helped too.

Kaiden’s mother, who is brand experience manager at the chain’s Norwich branch, was helped by colleagues nationwide, and CarShop pledged to match the total raised.

Staff in Wakefield climbed Helvellyn in the Lake District, raising £2,500, while Doncaster staff hiked up Mam Tor in the Peak District raising almost £1,500, and Cardiff staff will complete a parachute jump to raise £1,000.

Workers also took part in “chocolate Fridays”, making donations to eat a sweet treat.

Kaiden Freeman
Kaiden is to have an operation called Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy to improve his mobility after a £40,000 fundraising effort (Family photo/ PA)

Including donations to Mrs Freeman’s fundraising web page, the total stood at £39,260.88, and CarShop agreed to contribute the balance to reach the £40,000 target.

Mrs Freeman said she was “completely overwhelmed” and thanked everyone “from the bottom of our hearts”.

“Thank you, also, for helping us to raise awareness of this severe form of the cerebral palsy condition,” she said.

“There are so many others out there – just like Kaiden – who could benefit from this SDR surgery, and either don’t know of it or it’s not accessible to them due to financial constrictions, so please help us again in spreading the word.”

She said that Kaiden can sit unaided for long periods of time and has started to try crawling movement, making progress through practice and determination.

“Anyone who knows him, just loves him,” said Mrs Freeman.

The £40,000 is for the costs of the operation and aftercare, including physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, strengthening therapy and specialist equipment.

“It is a big operation, so we took our time to consider whether it was right for Kaiden,” said Mrs Freeman.

“However, our dedicated team of consultants and physiotherapists at Alder Hey children’s hospital (in Liverpool) all agreed that he would make for a very good candidate and gave the go-ahead on the procedure to take place towards the end of this year.”

Nigel Hurley, CarShop’s CEO, said: “I couldn’t be happier that this special little boy is now able to receive the life-changing surgery he needs to live a happy, successful and independent life.”

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