This is our son Jake Michael Evans, he’s now 4 years old and has a condition called cerebral palsy. Jake suffered some brain damage as a result of being born prematurely and this has made a massive impact on his little life so far. Jake cannot walk or stand, he gets around by commando crawling and using his K walker. Since turning 3 Jake has started to notice that he is different to his peers, he’s noticed that other children don’t need help to move around and he often cant join in playing with them.
There is now a very publicised operation available in the UK called SDR (selective dorsal rhizotomy) and although this procedure will not cure Jakes cerebral palsy it could be the difference between Jake walking independently or using a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
What is Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy?
Selective dorsal rhizotomy is a surgical procedure performed on the lower spinal cord. The nerves are separated then identified via an electrical stimulation. Following identification, certain sensory nerve fibres in the spinal cord are cut. The nerves that lead to too much muscle tone, which is a condition of cerebral palsy and spasticity, are then cut.
How Surgery Helps Mobility and Function?
Muscle tone is controlled by a reflex of nerves located in the spinal cord. This reflex involves a sensory nerve bringing information from a muscle back to the spinal cord, and a motor nerve going back to the muscle and actually causing it to contract.
Normally, messages from the brain reduce this spinal reflex and control the way that muscles contract. But in children with cerebral palsy, control over these spinal nerves is reduced. This causes a state of continuous contraction in some muscles.
Selective dorsal rhizotomy can often release some of this muscle tightness, or spasticity. By cutting only the sensory nerve rootlets causing the spasticity, muscle stiffness is decreased but other functions are not lost. By testing all the dozens of sensory nerve rootlets, the neuro-surgeon knows which ones are causing the problem, and which ones are normal and should be left alone.
With spasticity relieved, underlying muscle groups can start working more normally so that mobility and function improve. This helps prevent the extreme muscle scarring – know as contractures – plus the joint and bone deformities that children with cerebral palsy can develop if spasticity continues over a long period of time.
We’ve set a target of £50,000 to pay for the operation and the physio needed afterwards. Lots of families in the UK have now managed to make that target and their children’s lives have been changed because of it. Now we’ve begun fundraising we would appreciate any ideas you may have which might help achieve our targets. Also any of you who would like to help by donating some money or doing some fundraising yourself, we would be forever grateful. Please help us achieve our sons dream to walk unaided.
In the event of Jake not being able to have the Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy procedure, all monies donated will finance ongoing physio and therapy which will help Jake lead more of a normal life.
- Placing one foot in front of the other, I’ve climbed to higher lengths.
- Reaching beyond my own limitations, to show my inner strength.
- No obstacle too hard, for this warrior to overcome.
- I’m just a man on a mission, to prove my disability hasn’t won.