Guiseley family thrilled as son accepted for surgery in USA

Guiseley youngster Wes Knight with his sisters Amelie ( left) and Isobel (right)

Guiseley youngster Wes Knight with his sisters Amelie ( left) and Isobel (right)

First published in News

A two-year-old boy who is unable to walk has been accepted for a potentially life-changing operation in the United States.

The family of Wes Knight have spoken of their delight at the decision by the St Louis Children’s Hospital in Missouri.

Wes, who was born prematurely and had cerebral palsy, is unlikely to be able to walk without the Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy procedure which is offered by the hospital.

Now his parents, Tim and Catherine, of Guiseley, hope he will benefit from the procedure which has already transformed the lives of thousands of children.

They are expecting to get dates for surgery in April and are hoping to fly out to America in the summer with Wes and their daughters Amelie and Isobel.

The operation, which costs more than £36,000, involves neurosurgery to reduce the muscle stiffness that prevents cerebral palsy sufferers from walking.

Wes may then need a further procedure and will need follow-up care and three years of intensive physiotherapy.

His parents started a website, wesleyswish.org, to help raise £95,000 for the operation and three years of intensive physiotherapy.

They have already raised more than £40,000, and well-wishers are rallying round to help bring in more funds.

The couple had to submit documents, X-rays and an MRI scan for scrutiny by experts in the USA before their son could be considered for the operation.

They said they were “emotional and thrilled” by the “amazing” news that he had been accepted.

Mr Knight said: “What's really fantastic is the number of local businesses and friends of ours who've stepped forward to support this final round of fundraising.”

“It's blown us away that so many parts of the community have pulled together to help out.”   Among those raising money are Guiseley Lions who have teamed up with Leeds footballing star Gary McAllister to open a three day beer festival for Wes from May 16 to 18.

On May 25 The Station Pub is staging a music festival with funds going towards the operation.

And all the local Nuffield Health gyms have agreed to run a sponsored bootcamp on May 3 – with the offer of a year’s free membership for whoever raises the most.

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