Ipswich: Parents of four-year-old boy with spina bifida help the hospital that saved his life

IPSWICH: Parents of a four-year-old boy with spina bifida have launched an appeal to raise money for the hospital that saved his life.

While 28-year-old mum Vicky Strickland was pregnant with her first son, she was told the devastating news that he suffered from the rare condition which left him open to a lifetime of problems.

But it was not until George was born that she realised the extent of the difficulties her youngster would face, as his spine had not developed fully in the womb leaving his spinal cord and other nerves to force their way out into a lump on his tiny back.

He was referred to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London and at just four months old, he had to undergo an operation to remove the lump.

Vicky, of Ranelagh Road, said: “We found out about the condition through a blood test, but it wasn’t until the day he was actually born that we saw it.

“The lump was the size of a golf ball, and it looked huge on a newborn baby. I was upset and really shocked to see it.

“It was horrible to see him go into surgery – not knowing what’s happening is the worst bit. We were told that he may not be able to walk after the operation, but luckily he wiggled his little toes in the recovery room.”

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George has made tremendous progress throughout his short life, learning to walk even though many other children with the condition are never able to get around by themselves, and starting at Ranelagh Road Primary School a few weeks ago.

He often falls over because he only has partial feeling in his legs and feet, and wears a spinal brace and splints for his feet. But his parents were recently told he will need a second operation within the next few months to stop his spine – which has twisted to a 47 degree angle – from curving any further. Surgeons will insert a metal rod to stop his spine twisting, as well as removing another lump which has formed on his back.

“I’ve tried to explain to him that his back’s not straight and he’ll have to have an operation to have it straightened,” added Vicky, “But I don’t think he fully understands.

“The only thing he asked is whether it would stop him from falling over all the time.”

Vicky and her partner Shaun Frost set out to raise around �200 for Great Ormond Street Hospital by taking part in a fun run through London on June 12, but have already hit nearly �1,700 for the vital children’s hospital.

To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/george-frost06.