Courageous youngster Alfie Smith had a whirlwind 2017 that saw him have lkife-changing - but his family says the coming months are vital in working out whether he will need further operations.
Alfie’s mum Annie Stalley says the next 18 months are going to be a waiting game for the family as they look to see whether he will need further surgery to help improve his mobility.
The 10-year-old from Holdforth Road in Hartlepool underwent a life-changing operation called selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) at Leeds General Hospital back in March to reduce the stiffness and spasticity caused by his cerebral palsy.
Since the operation Alfie can now walk around his Hartlepool home and his school and after making progress he also enjoys horse riding and swimming.
The surgery followed a £50,000 fundraising campaign and since then the Throston Primary School pupil has been undergoing intense physiotherapy three times a day to get to the point where he can stand unaided.
Now just nine months later, his family have been overwhelmed with his progress, with Alfie being able to walk short distances with his quad sticks.
Alfie’s bravery was even recognised with a Child of Courage Award in last year’s Best of Hartlepool Awards after the community nominated him for the accolade.
Reflecting on the last year, mum Annie said she was so proud of her son for everything he has achieved.
She said: “He is doing really well and is still progressing.
“He is still working hard every day with his physio and he is doing really well on his quad sticks. “He is now able to go around the house and to school on his quad sticks.
“He can go short distances and is still going to physio four times a week and is doing horse riding and swimming.”
But Alfie’s mum said the next two years will be crucial in seeing how much progress he makes to decide if he needs further surgery.
She continued: “The next two years will be seeing how much progress he will make to see how far he will be able to go.
“He will be reviewed in 18 months time to see if he needs further surgery, but he can’t have the operations on his knees and hamstrings now as it would take him off his feet.
“It all depends on how strong he is - it is a waiting game.
“But he is doing really well and I am feeling really positive about it, as we were not expecting him to make as much progress as he has so soon.
“We set small goals for him every six to 12 weeks and he does achieve them, but these are little and often achievements, rather than huge milestones.”
Such achievements have seen Alfie manage to do things many of us take for granted such as going from sitting to standing unaided and even pushing a trolley a short distance around a supermarket.
But for Alife and his family those little things mean so much to them.
Annie added: “It was a proud moment me to see him be able to push the trolley and Aflie was over the moon.”