Touching moment boy, 5, with cerebral palsy takes first steps unaided

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Brave Samuel, five, had been born with cerebral palsy and could never walk. But thanks to a pioneering operation carried out on his legs in February he has now learnt to walk for the first time in his life. And it meant that he could stand up at his school nativity for the first time and play the role of innkeeper.

His mum Alexandria Grimes, 41, who lives in Stockport with husband Phil, 35, a debt advisor, and their older daughter Elleanor, eight, said: “It was amazing to see him in the school nativity. It’s the first time that he has been able to stand up and for him to be able to perform the role of the innkeeper was such an achievement.

“It was fantastic to see him standing there with all the other children for the first time in his life. It was so emotional, after everything he has been through. We were so proud of him.”

Samuel was born eight weeks early at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport in July 2017 after Mrs Grimes’s waters broke at 28 weeks pregnant.

She said: “I was sent home with antibiotics, but then I had to be readmitted with suspected sepsis and had an emergency caesarian to deliver Samuel.

“He was so poorly when he was born and we were told he may not survive. It was terrifying.”

Samuel was transferred to St Mary’s hospital in Manchester where doctors battled to save him. Eventually he managed to pull through, but the couple were told that he had suffered brain damage during the traumatic birth.

Mrs Grimes said: “It was upsetting, but we were just so thankful that he had survived. We were later told that the brain damage had mended itself but he didn’t manage to sit up until he was 11 months old and he wasn’t reaching his normal developmental milestones, so doctors investigated the problem.”

It was discovered that Samuel had cerebral palsy, which had been caused by his traumatic birth, and the tightening of his leg muscles meant that he couldn’t walk.

Mrs Grimes said: “He started having regular physiotherapy from the ag of one and we tried special shoes and leg splints. Then we read about a special operation called Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy which is used to reduce muscle stiffness by surgically opening the back of one of more vertebrae in the spine and cutting the sensory nerve fibres which send messages between the spinal cord and the legs. 

Since having the operation, Samuel has come on in leaps and bounds, and has taken his first steps.

Mrs Grimes said: “He made incredibly progress and can walk now without using his walker, and just using his sticks for support. To see him standing there with the other children in the nativity was something we had never thought we would see.”

The family are now fundraising for a piece of equipment called a Gallileo Plate which improves muscle tone and function, and also reduces spasms in those recovering from traumatic brain injuries. 

Mrs Grimes added: “Samuel’s next big wish is to be able to jump in puddles like all his friends can. He needs to build his leg muscles up more to be able to do this, and this piece of equipment will really help him. At the moment he holds onto my hands and jumps, but he is desperate to do it by himself. 

“So we are fundraising to try and raise the money for it. It feels like a miracle to us that we were told he may never walk, and now not only has he walked for the first time, but he’s stood up in his nativity play and now wants to learn to jump. There’s nothing that will hold him back.”

To donate to Samuel’s fund visit

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