Life-changing operation could free Harpenden boy from his wheelchair

Will Horton 5, Rebecca Horton, Olivia Horton 6, Dave Horton

Will Horton 5, Rebecca Horton, Olivia Horton 6, Dave Horton - Credit: Archant

Life-changing surgery looms for an “amazing” Harpenden boy, which could result in him being free of his wheelchair.

Will Horton, five, suffers daily from the challenge of living with a condition that affects his muscle control and movement.

He cannot walk because all four limbs and his trunk are affected by cerebral palsy.

Spastic quadriplegia is the most severe type of cerebral palsy, a condition that was diagnosed when Will was 18 months old.

But early in the new year the boy, who attends Crabtree Infants’ School, will undergo surgery at Great Ormond Street Hospital which aims to improve his gross motor function, particularly the ability to walk, by reducing muscle spasticity.

The technique involves cutting some of the sensory nerves that run between the spinal cord and leg muscles.

It is the only surgery that can permanently reduce spasticity.

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However the groundbreaking procedure, which also reduces the risk of spinal deformity in later years, is not funded by the NHS.

Will’s parents Rebecca and David Horton recently launched a campaign to raise £50,000 for his operation, of which they have already secured £22,000.

And their efforts have won support from big-hearted Arsenal star Jack Wilshere, who also lives in Harpenden and has donated items for a fundraising auction.

Rebecca said the family was stunned when, less than 24 hours after recently playing Poland, Jack arrived at the Arsenal supporters’ home and played footie with Will in his lounge.

Jack said: “My godson went to nursery with Will, which is how I came to hear of his condition.

“I was touched by the whole family’s courage and determination, so wanted to show my support.”

David and Rebecca describe their always-smiling son, who was born eight weeks early and suffered a bleed to the brain, as a “chatterbox with a wonderful sense of humour”.

Rebecca said: “We were initially told he may never walk or talk, but our amazing boy has proved the doctors wrong in so many ways.

“He is an inspiration. I have never known a child with the fight that this boy seems to have.”

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