Brookmans Park boy heads to US for �40,000 operation

A YOUNGSTER will be flying out to the US next month, for a ground breaking operation to help him learn to walk.

Five-year-old Emre Souleiman will fly out to Missouri in May, for a pioneering procedure to treat cerebral palsy spastic diplegia – a condition that limits the movement in his legs and renders him unable to walk or stand unassisted.

The operation – Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) – is a complex surgical procedure on the lower vertebrae which identifies ineffective nerves and cuts them.

It is a highly specialised procedure, with only a few operations carried out privately in the UK each year.

But SDR is more widely available in the US, and in particular at St Louis Children’s Hospital in Missouri, where the operation is carried out regularly and successfully by specialist Dr TS Park.


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Now Emre, who attends Brookmans Park Primary School, will be heading across the Atlantic with his family – mum Feray, dad Tevfick and older brother Eren, 10.

Including flights and accommodation, Emre’s operation is going to cost the family around �40,000.

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Now they’re calling on the British Government to make SDR more available in this country – and have signed a petition that will be presented to Downing Street later in the year.

“I think it would be great,” said Feray, 36. “It’s making a difference, and in the long run it would probably save you money, when you think about the cost of wheelchairs and therapies.

“The aim is for him to stand and walk unaided. At the moment he uses a walker, and has a wheelchair for long distances.

“He stands on tip toes, but after the operation he’ll be able to stand flat on his feet, so he’ll have better balance.

“When you see the videos of the children before and after, it’s proven to work.”

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