Ten-year-old Adam Kutereba stood for a whole five minutes, unaided, for the first time last week. Born with tetraplegic cerebral palsy, Kutereba has spent most of his life in a wheelchair. But following surgery – paid for by public fundraising – he was able to stand up. And that is just the beginning. It is now hoped that the selective dorsal rhizotomy he undertook is set to change his life forever.
The surgery – that cost approximately $135,000 – was paid for by friends and teachers at his school, Littleborough Community Primary, as well as complete strangers and community groups, who just wanted to help. When the family first started fundraising, they presumed it would be very difficult, but were pleasantly surprised at all the help that came pouring in. Should there be any remaining funds after the three years of treatment, the Kuterebas will pass it on to another child in the same situation. The surgery is not available in the UK (where the family lives) so Adam was sent to America for it.
Kutereba had the surgery done in Missouri at St. Louis’ Children’s Hospital in August 2012. In the procedure, his hamstrings, heel and knee cords were lengthened. He has been showing improvement ever since and is now able to walk with a frame and can even do 21 minutes on a treadmill, without taking a break.
He probably gave his parents the best Christmas present ever this year. December 25 was the day Adam stood unaided for five minutes. His mother is thrilled at his progress, calling it “amazing.” She added, “it was a very special Christmas for our family.”