CROSS KEYS youngster Maisie Cooper has also undergone the life-changing surgery she needs to walk unaided.
After a whirlwind year of fundraising, Maisie, three, is now recovering in America after having the Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) operation, costing £60,000.
Born 11 weeks early, Maisie, who weighed just 2lbs 14oz at birth, has spastic diplegia cerebral palsy – a condition which means her muscles tense up too much and she struggles with simple tasks like sitting up and standing up.
The surgery will decrease the tightness in her muscles and could mean with the help of intense physiotherapy, she will be able to walk unaided.
Maisie travelled to St Louis Children’s Hospital in St Louis on January 30, where she was able to go sightseeing with her parents before her three-hour surgery last Wednesday. She is being treated by one of the best neurosurgeons in the US, Dr TS Park.
Her parents Gareth and Hayley Cooper after her operation said they are relieved that Maisie is now able to begin the next chapter in her life.
“We had a great flight over to Chicago with only a slight delay to get to St Louis,” Mr Cooper said.
“The hotel is very homely with fantastic staff.
“We’ve been able to take in some sights such as the Busch stadium.
“We were also lucky enough to enjoy the Super Bowl with some American friends and three families from the UK, who are also here for the SDR operation.
“We met Dr Park before the op and he gave us an idea of what to expect for Maisie in the future, such as walking unaided.
“The meeting really hit home, but before our appointment we have been lucky enough to see this as a holiday.”
Speaking about the operation itself, Mr Cooper said: “Dr Park had said that the operation went perfect without any issues.
“The spasticity in her legs is greatly reduced and she is doing intensive physiotherapy now. She’s due to have leg braces to support her feet.
“It’s the beginning of the next chapter for Maisie.
“We are incredibly proud of her bravery.
“The support home through family and friends has been great to read, hear and see.”
Following the operation, Maisie suffered some sickness and was unable to keep any fluids down, but doctors are slowly re-introducing fluids and solid foods, including grapes and strawberries.
As part of the recovery process, Maisie has had to lie flat on her bed, take medication to help with pain relief, have antibiotics for the IVs and also have an epidural catheter as well as a catheter.
Her dad added: “She’s been such a brave girl and in between sleeping has made Hayley, me and her grandparents laugh with her typical funny comments.”
Throughout the journey, Mr Cooper has been filming their experience to help other parents considering the operation to know what to expect.
Maisie will now receive three weeks of intensive physiotherapy, returning to the UK on March 2.