Surgery helps brave Glen take first steps
"MAMMY, when am I going to walk?" was his constant query, and now eight-year-old Glen Wilkie will finally realise his dream.
Glen, who suffers from cerebral palsy and is unable to sit, stand or walk unaided, underwent surgery in the US before Christmas and medics are now hopeful he could take his first steps unaided in the next 18 months.
"I'd love to play soccer," said the youngster from Foynes, Co Limerick.
His mother, Margaret, has no doubt her son has the determination to make it happen. "Doctors have said the chances of him walking independently are very high in the next year to 18 months. The fact that he has the will to do it himself is also important because he's so positive," she said.
Born prematurely at 28 weeks and weighing just two pounds, Glen was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he was two.
"He's lucky to be here at all," his mother said. "We were told he'd be brain damaged but he's perfect in every other way."
Margaret and her husband, David, heard about a treatment in the US that helped 11 other Irish children with cerebral palsy.
They set up a fundraising drive last year that raised €63,000, enough to pay for surgery and private physiotherapy afterwards.
On November 15, Glen had surgery on his spinal cord at the St Louis Children's Hospital in Missouri. He also underwent a procedure to lengthen his hamstrings and heel cords.
Now, for the first time in his life, he can wiggle his toes, move his legs and stand and walk with the aid of a tripod and canes.