THE family of a disabled little boy is battling to raise funds towards a life-changing operation for him.
Christian Fortunato, who is six, was born 12 weeks early and diagnosed with spastic diplegia cerebral palsy.
He has been offered an operation, called a Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR), which will allow him to walk. But his family need to raise £30,000 over the next year as the procedure is not available on the NHS.
So far generous members of the public have donated more than £3,800 since Christian’s family launched its appeal.
His father Max, of Sunningdale Drive, St Leonards, said: “Christian was born weighing only 2lb and spent his first seven weeks in a special care baby unit.
“Christian is a very happy little boy in spite of everything he has been through. There have been many ups and downs along the way for him. He has tight leg muscles that cause him pain and make it hard for him to walk or be able to put his feet flat.
“He also has to endure terrible leg cramps at night and endless daily physiotherapy treatment.
“Christian would love to be able to do all the things his friends and family can do. He is a very confident and cheerful little boy who makes everyone he meets smile. Christian loves football and all he wants is to be able to kick a ball without falling over.”
The youngster is able to walk a bit using a walking frame but in order to do this he needs daily physiotherapy.
Mr Fortunato added: “Christian has been offered an operation which will be simply life-changing. The SDR is carried out at Leeds General Infirmary and, combined with an intensive physiotherapy programme, would give Christian the chance to do the thing that most children take for granted – which is to walk.
“The NHS is unable to fund the operation so we need to raise £30,000. We are aware that this target is a challenge, but the grit and determination Christian has shown over the years gives us the belief that together we can make this possible. It’s a long journey ahead but as a family we are determined to achieve Christian’s goal of walking unaided and independently.
“Donations, no matter how small, will make a big difference in maintaining Christian’s mobility and preventing him from facing the rest of his life in a wheelchair.
“Raising £30,000 is quite a challenge and we were not expecting the level of support we have had locally since we launched the appeal. We are so grateful.”
To donate log onto www.justgiving.com/christianssdrfund. Alternatively text CSDR99 £ (putting the amount after the £ sign) to 70070.