Morgan Walker, an eleven-year-old who attends Wheatfield Primary School, has been through challenges few people can imagine. He was born eight weeks prematurely, after which he suffered twenty minutes of cardiac arrest and damage to parts of the brain which doctors felt would make him unable to walk or talk. Morgan has proved their predictions wrong as he started walking at 17 months and talking, as well as attending a mainstream school.
Despite his effort and achievement, Morgan continues to deal with the effect of his cerebral palsy on a daily basis. He has to endure continuous pain, depend on 12 different medications and has already had 19 medical procedures during his young life
Having played football in the past, now walking is becoming more difficult for Morgan. Even sleeping and eating are risk factors as Morgan has to have an oxygen heart monitor whilst sleeping and suffers from reflux which affects his weight.
There is, however, possibility of a better life for Morgan Walker. Two operations performed in America have the potential to improve Morgan’s quality of life. These operations involve surgery on the spinal cord and are conducted by world-renowned specialists Dr TS Park and Dr M Dobbs. The funds required for these procedures have been calculated by Tree of Hope charity, and set at around £70,000. Morgan’s mum, Zoe, said she wanted to go through the charity because she wanted an impartial third party to handle the accounts, which also means that if the amount raised exceeds what is required, it will go towards helping other causes supported by Tree of Hope.
Zoe is unsure of how long the fundraising will take, but there are many events planned including a Dinner and Dance at the Aztec Hotel on 17th April and a football match on 28th March; through Charlton Farm, the children’s hospice where Morgan has had many stays, Morgan has been selected as the mascot for Bristol City. Morgan’s family are still looking for companies to donate prizes for the raffles at the Dinner and Dance, and are hoping to raise as much money as possible through people’s generosity. Two local boxing promoters, Dan Gwilym and Dean Cooper, have arranged a charity boxing night in aid of Morgan on 7th March. Zoe says: “The support has been fantastic.”
She tells us that Morgan is nervous about the procedure but he has said he “can’t believe everyone is doing so much”.
Once the family hit target, they will need to go to America for a month and then Morgan will require rehabilitation and physiotherapy which they will have to pay for at the SDR Centre in Wales.
Previous operations of this kind have proved successful. We spoke briefly to Donna Cox, a local resident whose son Toby went for a procedure in America, and she told us that “the operation has been marvellous”. (see panel below)
The procedures in Morgan’s case have the potential to dramatically enhance his quality of life.
If you would like to contribute to this life-changing cause and help Morgan, his JustGiving page is www.justgiving.com/hopeformorgan. You can also text HFMW99 + AMOUNT to 70070.
For more information about local fundraising events, visit the ‘Hope for Morgan‘ page on Facebook.
Photo: Morgan Walker (centre) with dad Darren, sisters Anais & Emmie and mum Zoe.
Donna Cox, mum of Toby, who underwent SDR surgery in 2010, following the ‘Help Toby Walk‘ fundraising campaign says:
“This operation has been completely life changing for Toby. He is able to participate in so much more than we ever imagined. The spasticity in his legs has now gone, and along with that, the pain is no longer a constant.”
“There is no longer a need for daily medication to “relax” the muscles, and he can sleep without being strapped to leg splints, that were so very uncomfortable.”
“In summary, the operation has given Toby a chance at life that he would never have had. If your child is suitable, and accepted, there is no choice but to go ahead.”
“This local community helped us achieve our goal of £36,000 within 12 weeks. We wish Morgan and his family so much good will in their target.”
This article originally appeared in the February 2015 edition of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine, delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,500 homes in Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.
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