Cross Keys youngster set for life-changing op

South Wales Argus: WHAT A YEAR: Maisie (centre) pictured with her parents Gareth and Hayley Cooper, plus family friend and one of many fundraisers Paul Francis. Maisie needed £60,000 to help her walk. WHAT A YEAR: Maisie (centre) pictured with her parents Gareth and Hayley Cooper, plus family friend and one of many fundraisers Paul Francis. Maisie needed £60,000 to help her walk.

IT’S been a whirlwind of a year for little Maisie Cooper as she tackles the challenge of learning to live with spastic diplegia cerebral palsy.

But now the Cross Keys youngster has been given February 4 as the date of her operation to help her walk, her parents are over the moon and are eagerly anticipating the surgery in the New Year.

Born 11 weeks early, two-year-old Maisie Cooper, weighed just 2lbs 14oz at birth, was diagnosed with spastic diplegia cerebral palsy, a condition which means that her muscles tense up too much and she struggles with simple tasks such as sitting up and standing up.

Throughout the year, Maisie’s parents Gareth and Hayley Cooper, have been fundraising for the life changing Selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) operation which would decrease the tightness in her muscles and could mean that with the help of intense physiotherapy, she will be able to walk unaided.

Following various fundraising efforts, Maisie’s parents have managed to raise the £60,000 needed for Maisie to undergo pioneering surgery in the United States to help her walk.

Maisie who will have just turned three by the time the operation comes round, has been accepted in to St. Louis Children’s Hospital in St. Louis, America.

Maisie will travel to the States on January 30 ahead of her operation date and stay in St Louis to continue on a series of physiotherapy over the course of thee weeks until March 1 arriving home on March 2.

Reflecting on his daughter’s year Mr Cooper said: “We are all set to celebrate the Christmas festivities ahead of her operation in February.

“It is now six weeks until the operation so it is really, really close now.

“We have booked the flights and sorted the accommodation, so we are literally just waiting to go there.

“Maisie has been having regular physiotherapy and hydrotherapy to up the ante and get her used to being in that environment.

“The coordinator from St Louis has told us that she will be getting around and hour and a half of physiotherapy every day for three weeks after the operation.”

But Gareth admits that the family are both excited and nervous about the procedure.

“We have been following a little boy called Leo who has just come back from having his operation in St Louis and we have met him and his parents’ and followed his experience which has given us a little bit is a taste of what to expect,” he said.

Both Maisie parents expect her to experience after affects following the procedure, which include possible spasms and sickness- but are confident that she will be fine.

“She is really, really tough, and she is incredibly strong,” said Mr Cooper.

“Even after being born early and coming out having numerous chest infections and the diagnosis that she has Cerebral Palsy, she has come out smiling.

“Even though we are incredibly nervous, we are confident that she will pull through.”

While Maisie is away she will be visited by both sets of grandparents as well as her godparents who will provide support throughout the operation and aftercare.

“We have been lucky and are really grateful for all their support,” Gareth continued.

“As well as being fortunate to have people who have helped us out.

“It is an emotionally draining experience as any parent who has been through this experience who will understand.

“It has been a crazy year and I think one of the biggest emotional parts of it was when me and 14 friends did the three peaks challenge in May to raise money for the operation.

“Maisie is an incredibly loving little girl and I wish this hadn’t happened to her but I think it has given her the extra drive in life to be a successful individual.”

Her father explained that although Maisie is aware that she will undergo her operation in February but doesn’t realise the severity of it.

“As one chapter closes with regards to the fundraising, the next chapter opens with her working hard with her physio after the operation,” he said.

“We are incredibly grateful for the people who have donated and it is great what we have got the date at this time of the year.

“Christmas for me has always been a time of giving and the date is fantastic news.

“I just hope that people can take comfort in the fact that they have helped a little girl to walk and live a normal life.

“It is something that we all take for granted, but it is a precious gift.”


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