Kai’s a walking miracle thanks to city doctors

A FIVE-YEAR-OLD boy with cerebral palsy can finally walk after undergoing a life-changing operation.

Kai Hodgkinson is amazing his parents with his progress after his operation. Picture: Ross Parry Agency

Kai Hodgkinson has astounded his parents and doctors after achieving his little lifetime ambition – just two weeks after going under the knife.

Kai, whose hero is Spiderman, received the treatment at Leeds General Infirmary.

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And upon awaking from his operation he asked his parents “can I climb now?”, just like his cartoon hero.

Delighted Kai is now demonstrating his new found skills in the Spiderman outfit he was given as a present by nurses – and climbing the stairs at home.

His parents, Brian Roberts and Caron Hodgkinson, found details of an operation on the internet that could improve muscle stiffness in children with cerebral palsy and therefore allow them to walk.

Up until the operation, Kai could only walk with aids but if it was anything further than a few yards he would have to be in his wheelchair.

Mr Roberts, 37 a healthcare worker, said: “Kai’s cerebral palsy only really affects him physically.

“If you walked into a room and he was sat on the floor he could be chatting away and you wouldn’t know any different, but now he has had this operation he can do anything.”

At the time the operation, selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) was not available on the NHS so the couple from Blackpool along with their four other children, Codie, Blain, Leigh and Teejay, started fundraising to find enough money to send Kai to America.

Two years later, after countless charity nights, fun days, boxing nights and dance-offs, the family had managed to raise £43,000. Kai’s father even did a parachute jump – the first time he had ever been on a plane.

Mr Roberts said: “We initially needed £58,000 to send Kai to America but while we were fundraising we heard that a doctor had started doing the operations in Leeds. We had reached £43,000 so far and it meant we could stop.

“We finally had enough money for the operation and the physiotherapy and aftercare. It was a great moment.

“Prior to the operation Kai’s muscles were so tight that he would have to walk on his tip toes. Immediately after, while Kai was still asleep, the doctor was able to show us how Kai’s feet were flat. It was unreal.”

But the miracles kept on coming when Kai was encouraged to get out of his bed after lying prone in hospital for four days.

“He was taken out of his hospital bed,” said Mr Roberts. “Wearing his superhero pyjamas he walked for the first time. He held on to two physios and he walked. It was like seeing a toddler walk for the first time.”

Kai has now left the LGI but has to return to hospital every day for physio.

Ms Hodgkinson said: “I keep having to tell Kai to calm down a bit.

“He is zipping here and there and I’m quite scared he’s going to do himself damage. But he is so chuffed that he can do it, there really is no holding him back. I think it’s probably due to us having a such a big family. He is chuffed he can now join in the fun with the other kids.”

As part of Kai’s physiotherapy he has now tackled stairs for the first time, a feat that the family thought he would never complete.

“The first thing Kai said when he opened his eyes was: ‘Can I climb a tree now?’” his mother added. “And I was thinking it might be a while before he gets to that. Now, it seems, he is going to be doing that a lot sooner than we think.”