CHRISTMAS is exciting for anyone with young children, but for one Harrogate family, this year will be extra special.
Steve and Fiona Maltby have just found out they can take their son Christopher for life-changing treatment in the United States in January.
“We’re absolutely ecstatic,” Steve said. “We’ve had great support from so many people and we can’t thank them enough.”
Christopher, now six, was born 12 weeks prematurely with his twin brother, David, and both spent several weeks in hospital before their parents could take them home.
But it was not until Chrissy was 18 months old that he was diagnosed with spastic diplegia, a form of cerebral palsy, which affects his movement and muscle control, impacting on his everyday life.
In June, his family launched Chrissy’s Quest, aiming to raise the £58,000 needed to pay for an operation in St Louis. He and David will be out of their lessons at St Robert’s Primary School for five weeks - but their parents have vowed to ensure they keep up with their schoolwork in the hotel room.
Among the recent donations received were £1,000 from the Harrogate MG Club, raised through its summer show in Pateley Bridge, and £750 from the Oatlands Allotment Association, also collected at its summer show.
Although they are still slightly short of their target, Steve said the remaining £10,000 should come in over the festive period if all the planned events go ahead.
“We’ve had some fantastic support from the school and from our karate club, Harrogate National Martial Arts College, and from family and friends who have done loads for us,” he said.
“We can’t single anyone out because we appreciate it all so much. We’ve had lots of events that have gone on to make it all possible and so many people have been involved.”
He said the family had been overwhelmed by people’s generosity, but put it down to the impact they could see when they made a donation.
“I think people have been moved by Chrissy’s Quest,” he said. “You can probably see the end result and you’re helping someone you can see benefiting from it.”
Chrissy’s operation will involve accessing his spine to find the nerves which are “over-firing” and causing his muscles to spasm, and cutting them to prevent it continuing.
Once that is done, however, the hard work will really begin. Because Chrissy has never been able to use the muscles properly, he will have to learn how to stand, walk and run from scratch through therapy which could last up to two years, depending on how he responds.
But however difficult it is, Steve said it will be worthwhile to see him running around with David in the future.
“He won’t have to be sat on the sidelines,” said Steve.
“I’ve no doubt that every minute of every day he is in some kind of discomfort or pain, but he doesn’t know any different.
“I’ve spoken to other parents who said their children came out of the operation and said, ‘My legs don’t hurt any more’. I can’t wait for that moment.”