Seven-year-old Jack Rickard is all set for life-changing surgery next month – thanks to an amazing fundraising effort by the local community.
As previously reported in the Mercury, Jack, who lives in Barnack with twin sister Ava and parents Shona and Steve, suffers from spastic diplegia cerebral palsy.
Pioneering surgery at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London should help reduce stiffness in his legs and give Jack the best possible chance of staying on his feet for life – and not needing to use a wheelchair.
But before Jack could have the operation, called Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR), his parents first had to raise £60,000 because the procedure is not currently available on the NHS.
Having set up the Jack’s Journey fundraising appeal in December last year, the Rickards are now closing in on their £60,000 total and Jack’s operation has been booked for August 12.
Shona said: “When we started raising money last year we never dreamed we would be at this point so quickly. The fact we have got there so quickly is great news for Jack, because the earlier he has the operation the better the chance of success.
“We have had an amazing amount of support from friends, family, local businesses and all sorts of people who wanted to help with our fundraising.
“I’m so thankful for everyone’s help. It has been an amazing effort.”
The fundraising total currently stands at about £52,000 and, with a charity auction planned later this month, and an Autumn ball in October, the £60,000 target should be hit soon.
Shona added: “We have enough money to fund the operation now and we are delighted that Jack is booked in for August 12.
“He has recently been in hospital for pre-op assesments which went to plan.
“Steve and I are excited and terrified. It’s a major operation but we know it’s the right thing to do.
“Jack is excited about it because his dad will be sleeping in hospital with him every night and there’s a Nintendo Wii which he’s looking forward to playing Minecraft on.”
Money raised from other fundraising events planned by Jack’s Journey will be used for aftercare, a prolonged course of physiotherapy, and any equipment needed.
Following his operation, Jack will stay in Great Ormond Street Hospital for around three weeks before being allowed to return home. He will then undergo physiotherapy twice a week for two years.
nAn auction in aid of Jack’s Journey will be held at Batemans, in Ryhall Road, Stamford, on Friday, July 22, at 7pm. Lots include spa days, golf days, restaurant vouchers and signed sports memorabilia. Entry will cost £5 and includes a drink and catalogue.