Family's sacrifices to help Luca walk
5:30am Monday 23rd December 2013 in News
THE family of a young Cricklade schoolboy say they will re-mortgage their house rather than give up the chance of him having surgery in America that could save him from having his right leg amputated.
Luca Railton, 10, is due to undergo surgery in Florida on March 27 but before then his parents face the daunting task of raising £135,000 – so far, £18,000 has been raised.
His mother Teresa, 42, said: “People are being very supportive and we are really grateful but there is an awfully long way to go to meet our target. The family are talking about fall back positions and if it comes to it we will re-mortgage.
“But obviously we have to come back to Britain and be able to live so we really need to raise as much money as we can before the deadline.”
This is made even tougher as the family must have all the money in place by the beginning of March as they are applying for a medical visa to make the trip to America.
“It is essential all the funds are in the bank and are ready to go, otherwise we won’t be able to go ahead with the operation,” said Teresa.
Luca was born with no bone in his right knee, no right tibia (the bone below the knee) and only a partial left tibia due to a rare condition called bilateral tibial hemimelia, which affects one in a million people.
Luca, who attends Prior Park School, has had more than 60 hours of surgery to help get him walking with the aid of leg supports.
But in February this year, NHS doctors in Oxford said there was little more they could do for Luca and they would have to amputate or fuse his right leg straight as it will become increasingly painful as he gets older.
But American surgeon Dr Dror Paley, who has treated more than 200 patients with Luca’s condition, says he can get him walking pain free and without callipers. The family has been to Florida to meet his previous patients.
This bid to save Luca from amputation is not the first fought by the family. When he was born at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford in August 2003, his parents were told that although surgeons might be able to save his left leg, he should have his right leg amputated.
But they found a doctor from Germany who flew to England in 2005 and performed 10 hours of surgery on Luca at the John Radcliffe Hospital to put metal frames on his legs.
After nine months, the frames were removed and Luca took his first steps with the help of callipers and a walking frame. Since that time, he has had more operations to either lengthen or straighten his legs and he is able to walk with support.
The latest surgery will take place in stages over six months. Doctors will operate on his ankles and left knee, and his right leg will be lengthened and fused in a way that will still allow him to run around. It will mean he can walk painfree without his callipers.
A Facebook fundraising page has been set up and a big event is planned at Prior Park School at the beginning of February and Luca’s father Alex is organising a race night in March.
People can donate towards Luca’s operation by visiting https://www.facebook.com /lucarailton
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