Sam’s wish to walk

FAMILY'S APPEAL Stephen, Sam and Karen Bottomley.
FAMILY'S APPEAL Stephen, Sam and Karen Bottomley.

Schoolboy Sam Bottomley would love nothing more than to run around the playground with his friends at Hopton Primary School.

Cerebral palsy has left the muscles in his legs so stiff and tight that he cannot stand or walk without support.

Medics believe the six-year-old is an ideal candidate for selective dorsal rhizotomy, an operation that would help his muscles move more freely and eventually allow him to walk independently.

But his family must raise £35,000 if he is to receive the treatment, which is not funded on the NHS.

Mum Karen, 45, said: “Sam’s basically a happy child but he gets very frustrated when he can’t join in with his friends or can’t do the same as them.

“It’s mainly his legs that are affected so he wears splints during the day, uses his weighted walker in the playground and has exercises to do at school.

“The treatment might increase his self confidence and help him see that he can do the things the other children are doing. He could join in with playing and be just like a regular little boy.”

Sam was born seven weeks early and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 18 months.

He is also undergoing assessment to see if he has a learning disability.

Twice a year he is given botox injections at Leeds General Infirmary to help relax the muscles in his legs, but the operation could change his life.

Sam’s parents, Karen and Stephen, were thrilled when they found out about the treatment but now they must find the money to fund it.

Karen said: “You wonder how you’re going to get that together. We need £35,000 – £15,000 is for the operation but importantly after that Sam would need two years of intense physiotherapy, which is where the rest of the money would go.”

With the support of friends, family and parents at Hopton Primary School, the couple have begun a fundraising appeal called Sam’s Wish to Walk.

It has already collected £710, but there’s a long way to go to reach the target.

Karen, of Calder Road, Lower Hopton, said: “I’ve been overwhelmed by the response from the mums at school. It’s just fantastic.

“We’re hoping to do bag packs, get local businesses involved somehow. We’re also going to be buying some wristbands for people to sell.

“We just want to say thank you to everyone who’s donated so far.”

Visit to donate online or text SWTW70 with the donation amount to 70070.

To get involved in the fundraising, email or join the Sam’s Wish to Walk facebook page.