Hopes high that Billy will take his first steps

Billy Childs at home after an operation paid for by local fundraisers to help him to walk.Picture: J

Billy Childs at home after an operation paid for by local fundraisers to help him to walk.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

Just weeks after Billy Childs underwent a “last resort” operation his family say they cannot believe the difference it has made.

The success of the surgery is raising hopes that the four year old could walk by the time he starts school.

His parents Irene and Marc Childs of Yarmouth Road, Caister say they could not be happier with his progress and that their little boy had recovered “miles better” than anyone could have hoped.

Billy’s operation on February 13 was paid for by well-wishers after he missed out on NHS funding despite fulfilling all the criteria.

The four-and-a-half hour procedure was part of a pilot scheme and involved cutting nerves that weren’t firing properly causing painful stiffness in his legs.

Now he has to contend with the opposite problem and is working hard to build up muscle so his legs are less floppy and strong enough to support him.

Mrs Childs, 38, said that while the ultimate dream was that Billy would walk he was 100pc happier in himself, far more comfortable, more confident, talking more, and finally sleeping through the night.

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“We knew it was not going to be a miracle cure but we can see the potential of him being able to walk,” she said.

“Before he was always battling against his muscles which were doing the wrong thing.

“I asked him if his legs felt different and he said ‘they are all done now’. They must feel so much more comfortable and he can sit cross-legged which he has never been able to do before.”

Mrs Childs said her ambition was that Billy would be able to walk by September when he started school.

Currently, he had been set-back by the £25,000 operation but she could see he was getting stronger every day and the whole family shared his determination.

Billy, who has cerebral palsy, spent three weeks away from his siblings and twin sister in Great Ormond Street Hospital and returned home on Friday.

While he was there his mother stayed with him responding to the many inquiries about how he was getting on via Facebook.

She said she was overwhelmed by all the good wishes and gifts from Billy’s nursery and all the lovely feedback and cards from the public in general, adding:

“He is still further behind than he was before the surgery and it could take six months for him to walk with a frame, although I think he will be quicker. I have absolutely no regrets. He is doing brilliantly. If he walked to school with sticks I would be over the moon.”

“His outlook long term would have been mostly in a wheelchair. If he had not had the surgery he would never have been able to walk very far. Now he has the best opportunity.

“I just want to say thank you to everyone. It will be lovely for Billy to know that he had all these people behind him.”