Alfie smashes physio milestone in bid to walk

Alfie Smith is now using quad sticks to get around
Alfie Smith is now using quad sticks to get around

Determined Hartlepool youngster Alfie Smith is on his way to being a walking miracle after beating the goals set by medical experts.

Five months ago the 10-year-old was lying in a hospital bed after undergoing life-changing surgery to achieve his dream of walking independently.

Alfie Smith with his mum Annie Stalley

Alfie Smith with his mum Annie Stalley

Now, he is able to get around with the use of quad sticks, being able to walk the length of a room without any other support.

It is a feat his mum Annie Stalley and the physiotherapists he has been working with never thought they would see so soon.

Experts had set him a goal of being back using his Kaye Walker by September - when he is due to be assessed following his selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) operation, which had left him wheelchair bound.

Mum Annie said: “He is just amazing us all. He is making such fast progress, it’s amazing. In five months he has gone from being wheelchair bound and unable to use his legs or feet, to now being able to walk the length of the room with sticks but on his own.

Everyone is wanting to see him walk. But we still have a long way to go.

Annie Stalley

“It’s fantastic.”

She added: “When we left the hospital in Leeds, the aim was for Alfie to be back using his Kaye Walker and the next step would have been the quad sticks but he’s using them already

“I’m just over the moon. He is a determined young boy and it’s been lovely to watch him. We never expected him to get so far so quick.”

While the milestones are being reached in double quick time, Alfie’s dream of walking unaided and pain free is still a long way off.

The youngster still has to undergo a further two operations - one to lengthen his hamstrings and another on his knees.

His mum added: “We have to visit Sheffield who will assess his walking before we go back to Leeds for his SDR review.

“We are hoping Leeds will have the results from Sheffield before we have our appointment. The SDR review is to see how much he has improved and to see if he is strong enough for his next operations.

“We know after the operations it will knock Alfie back into his wheelchair and he will have to start all over again - but hopefully knowing he can do it will help keep him motivated.

“It hasn’t been easy, we have been on such an emotional rollercoaster and everyone is wanting to see him walk. But we still have a long way to go.”

The operation was made possible following fundraising efforts of people and businesses across the region to secure the minimum £50,000 needed to enable the surgery to go ahead. The cash is also helping to fund two years of aftercare. Funds raised above the initial figure being put towards a third year of aftercare as well as specialist equipment.