Brave Hartlepool youngster Alfie Smith has undergone his first physio session as he starts the long road to recovery.
The nine-year-old, who has cerebral palsy, underwent Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy, at Leeds General Hospital, last week.
Since then, it has been an emotional rollercoaster for his mum Annie Stalley and his family as the schoolboy struggled to cope with the post-operation pain.
However, his condition now seems to be improving after he was finally able to be released from hospital and has undergone his first physio session.
The Throston Primary School pupil is currently wheelchair bound after undergoing life-changing surgery.
He is now working towards re-building his strength to enable him to start the process which will one day help him to walk unaided and painfree.
Now, the only way is up for Alfie. We just have to keep moving forward.Annie Stalley
His mum said: “Alfie is very weak and is completely wheelchair bound. He can’t even do the things he used to be able to before, like crawl.
“It was what we expected to happen, but when you’ve worked so hard to build his muscles up, it’s so hard to see him go back over.
“He has completed his first physio session which was around 50 minutes, which is looking at starting to strengthen his muscles.
“Hopefully, we’ll see a difference in a few weeks.
“I knew it was going to be hard, but I never expected it to be this hard. It really has been an emotional rollercoaster.
“But now the only way is up for Alfie. We just have to keep moving forward.”
Annie added: “Alfie lost his smile a few days ago due to the pain he was in, but he’s now got his smile back and he’s back to being the cheeky little boy we all know and love.”
The pair are currently living in Leeds to enable Alfie to attend various physiotherapy sessions and assessments.
Once he returns home to Hartlepool, he will then embark on years of physiotherapy to help rebuild his muscle strength and retrain his body.
He will also need to undergo a further operation at a later date to lengthen his hamstrings after a pre-operation assessment discovered surgery would be needed.
The operation and aftercare has been made possible after people from across the North East helped to fundraise to cover the cost of the surgery and subsequent aftercare.
Fundraising events are still to take place to ensure money is available as starts his road to recovery.