The family of a young Malmesbury boy say they will remortgage their house rather than give up the chance of him having surgery in America that could save him from having his right leg amputated.
Luca Railton, 10, is due to undergo surgery in Florida on March 27 but before then his parents Teresa and Alex face the daunting task of raising £135,000 – so far £18,000 has been raised.
Mrs Railton, 42, said: “People are being very supportive and we are really grateful but there is an awfully long way to go. The family are talking about fall-back positions and if it comes to it we will remortgage.
“But we have to come back to Britain and be able to live so we really need to raise as much money as we possibly can before the deadline.”
This is made even tougher as the family must have all the money in place by the beginning of March, as they are applying for a medical visa to make the trip to America.
“It is essential all the funds are in the bank and are ready to go, otherwise we won’t be able to go ahead with the operation,” said Mrs Railton.
Luca was born with no bone in his right knee, no right tibia (the bone below the knee) and only a partial left tibia due to a rare condition called bilateral tibial hemimelia, which affects one in a million people.
Luca, who attends Prior Park School in Cricklade, has had more than 60 hours of surgery to help get him walking with the aid of leg supports.
But this year, NHS doctors in Oxford said there was little more they could do and they would have to amputate or fuse his right leg straight as it will become more and more painful as he gets older.
But American surgeon Dr Dror Paley, who has treated more than 200 patients with Luca’s condition, says he can get Luca walking pain-free and without callipers.
The family has been to Florida and met patients who were treated by Dr Paley.
Mrs Railton, who works in IT in Swindon, said: “We are really confident that he can help Luca. We just have to find a way of paying.”
This is not the family’s first bid to save Luca from amputation. When he was born at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford on August 27, 2003, his parents were told surgeons might be able to save his left leg but he should have his right leg amputated. They discovered a surgeon in Germany who flew to England in 2005 and performed 10 hours of surgery on Luca at the John Radcliffe Hospital to put metal frames on his legs.
After nine months, the frames were removed and Luca took his first steps with the help of callipers and a walking frame. Since then, he has had operations to either lengthen or straighten his legs and he is still able to walk with support.
In February, the family was told NHS surgeons could not do any more for his right leg, which is starting to bow as he grows.
The corrective surgery will take place in stages over six months, and will mean Luca no longer walks on the balls of his feet. Surgeons will operate on his ankles and left knee, and his right leg will be lengthened and fused in a way that will still allow him to run around. Ultimately, it will mean he can walk pain-free without callipers.
A Facebook fundraising page has been set up and an event is planned at Prior Park School in February. Luca’s father is holding a race night in Swindon in March. To donate, visit www.face book.com/lucarailton