The family of a superhero-obsessed six-year-old born with cerebral palsy are hoping to raise £16,000 for a “life-changing operation” to give him a chance to walk.
Lucas Stafford, from New Mills, Derbyshire, has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, which means he cannot walk or do things other children take for granted like going to the toilet, brush his teeth or even feed himself.
Little Lucas, who idolises Spiderman and Captain America, experiences painful cramps, and can have severe convulsions because his body struggles to regulate its temperature.
When the youngster asks his mum and dad: “Why can’t I walk?’ it breaks their hearts because their son is forced to watch from his wheelchair as his friends play football.
School friends have dressed as comic book superheroes for a sponsored walk and raised more than £4,000 towards the family’s goal so far.
Doctors say an operation, called Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy, could completely change his life giving him the possibility of being able to walk.
Because it is not currently funded on the NHS his parents, Susan and Steven, 33, both 33, are fundraising for the £16,000 to pay for treatment and aftercare.
But Dad Steven, 33, a production technician, said: “He’s a very happy and cheeky boy and popular at school. He doesn’t really let it affect him because he’s never really known any different.
“Recently he’s been asking why can’t he walk, because his friends at school are running around and kicking balls while he’s in a wheelchair.
“This operation would change his life forever.”
When Lucas was born his parents had no idea that he his brain had been damaged.
Mum Susan, who is a full time career for Lucas, said: “He looked like a normal healthy little boy. He was a little bit lazy at 12 months old he wasn’t crawling or rolling around, it was more like having a three month old baby.”
It was only when the health visitor was concerned that Lucas was referred to a paediatrician and sent for a brain scan which confirmed the condition.
“We were in denial at first saying ‘oh he’s just lazy’,” said Susan. “But the brain scan done showed that the left hand side of his brain is practically dead at the back and that’s what causes the cerebral palsy.”
Lucas’s condition affects every aspect of his life and, and he suffers from convulsions, including one so severe four years ago it left him in an induced coma.
Susan said: “It’s been hard as a family we’ve been devastated – I don’t think we’ve got enough tears to cry anymore.”
“He’s got quadriplegic spastic cerebral palsy which means that all four of his limbs, his arms but mainly his legs are really stiff. He’s wheelchair bound so he can’t walk because of the stiffness in his legs he’s six but he’s incontinent because of the brain damage so he wears nappies, he can’t dress himself he can’t even brush his teeth and he finds feeding himself difficult.”
Lucas’s devoted siblings, five-year-old brother Wyatt and eleven-year-old sister Kyla even provide support.
Susan said: “They’re both amazing. Kyla’s had to learn how to hold Lucas if he suffers a convulsion because you can’t just put him in a recovery position, you have to physically hold him.
“His brother is only five but he helps Lucas. If I have to get up during meal times, Wyatt actually helps feed him and he knows by certain times on the clock when Lucas’s medicine needs to be given so he says ‘come on mummy it’s medicine time now’.