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The Portland hospital

Jude's Story

Football fan Jude hopes to realise his dream to kick a ball following SDR procedure. Click here to find out more

Seven year old Chelsea fan Jude Liversage dreams of being able to kick a ball around like his schoolmates and every Sunday his father Tony drives him 100 miles to special training sessions for children with cerebral palsy.

But just a few days after he underwent the Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) neurological procedure at The Portland Hospital in London, Jude can now stand flat footed for the first time in his life.

Proud father Tony Liversage said he was amazed. “It really is remarkable and gives us hope that after a period of rehabilitation Jude will be able to be more mobile and more independent and eventually be able to kick a ball around like other kids.”

SDR was developed over a hundred years ago and since major advances in microsurgical techniques in the past 30 years, it has become a little more common, safer and more effective.

SDR is a neurosurgical procedure designed to reduce spasticity (a tightness of the muscles) in the legs and ankles in children with cerebral palsy. Only about 25% of children with cerebral palsy between the ages of four and 10 may be able to benefit from the procedure. In addition only a few children are currently able to have the procedure performed at just a handful of NHS specialist centres.

Until now the only alternative is having the operation in the US where together with the rehabilitation and accommodation, the cost can reach almost $100,000.

In the UK the operation costs between £30,000 and £40,000 but despite a successful fund raising programme with backing of Chelsea and Stoke City players, the Liversage family’s hopes were almost dashed when they realised they could only raise less than half of the cost.

At the 11th hour, hearing Jude’s story, the SDR team at London’s Portland Hospital waived the rest of the costs and consultant paediatric neurosurgeon, Mr Kristian Aquilina performed the operation. Click here to view consultant

Hospital Chief Executive, Janene Madden said Jude was a perfect patient! “We heard the extraordinary story of this football loving boy, the absolute dedication of his family and the support of Jude’s football heroes and it touched everyone’s hearts. We knew if anyone could help it was Kristian Aquilina and our brilliant SDR team.

“Jude has been a real star and we are all delighted he is making such good progress,” said Janene.

Jude is now undergoing an intensive physiotherapy programme for at least six months to improve his strength and balance so that he can realise his dream.

Click here to see Jude’s story in the Daily Mail.

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