Corin Potts takes first joy-filled steps after his surgery
A YATE youngster has started to take his first steps after having life-changing surgery.
Corin Potts has cerebral palsy but after an operation at Frenchay Hospital the youngster has overcome the tightness he suffers in his muscles.
The four-year-old's parents James Potts and Faye Weeks said they could see an immediate improvement in him after the selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) surgery.
And while they know there will be a lot more work before Corin can walk completely unaided, the changes they have seen in the first few weeks have already made the £35,000 they raised to fund the operation and pay for intensive physiotherapy worthwhile.
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The surgery is not routinely available on the NHS and while some local health trusts have paid for people from their area to have the operation at Frenchay, those in the Bristol area have not paid.
People in Yate and across Bristol joined forces to support Corin's fundraising appeal and the youngster went into hospital for the procedure.
He has now been home for ten days and is working on improving his strength.
"Straight away we saw the difference, immediately he was sleeping better," Mr Potts said.
"We won't see the real results yet but all Corin's spasticity has gone and he's not tight anymore. He used to be really tight in the groin, hamstrings and calves but that's gone now.
"He is not in any pain anymore and is sleeping a lot better.
"He has got lots of dexterity in his hands and is eating by himself with a knife and fork. He couldn't hold a pen properly before and would hold it like a baby would a crayon but now he can hold a pen.
"We didn't expect it to be so obvious. Just the fact he is having a good night's sleep is worth the effort for us. The main thing for us was for Corin to have the freedom and dignity to be able to take himself to the toilet and I am happy with that."
Mr Potts, 31, said the youngster could not cross his legs before the operation and he can now, which will mean he can sit with the other children at school rather than sitting on a chair away from the rest of his class.
"It is the little things like that," the postman said.
"People think of the operation as a miracle cure for walking but it is also about giving him the chance to be like every other child."
Corin is building up the strength in his legs to help him walk and he is doing physiotherapy every day. His parents have also been taking the youngster swimming and cycling so that the work is more fun.
Mr Potts said the family is so appreciative to all the people who helped their son have the surgery and wanted to send his thanks to as many people as possible.
But he also hopes that successful operations on youngsters like Corin will be taken into account when funding of SDR is reconsidered.
"I can't see how they can't say it is justified after the success on a number of Americans, where they have been doing it for 25 years," he said.
"I think it should be available on the NHS, or at least there should be some help.
"It's massive, who wouldn't pay £35,000 for being able to get a good night's sleep for 70 years or so, or being able to go to the toilet by yourself. Children don't choose to have cerebral palsy.
"And he has probably cost £35,000 already in terms of mobility cars and his wheelchair."