As far as wedding anniversaries go, pacing around London for four hours while your daughter has life-changing surgery is not anyone’s idea of a way to celebrate.
But for Fran and Tim Heriot this year’s anniversary will be remembered as a special day, as it was the moment that their four-year-old daughter Halle began the long journey to taking her first independent steps.
Halle, of Fenside Drive, Newborough, went under the knife at Great Ormond Street Hospital on Wednesday last week for selective dorsal rhizotomy surgery following a six month whirlwind £55,000 fundraising campaign for treatment which is unavaible on the NHS.
Halle has cerebral palsy, bilateral spastic diplegia, and the surgery and months of intensive physiotherapy will enable her to walk for the first time. Fran said: “She’s doing really well. There’s a dramatic difference after the major operation.
“Day-by-day she’s getting stronger and stronger.
“It’s about a year until you really see the benefits.
“She said her legs feel very different, but they are extremely weak at the moment. Surgery took away the underlying issues, but she’s never really used her legs before.
“The idea is that come three to four months she should supersede where she was at originally. By a year she should be totally past anything we’ve seen before.
“Two years is when we will see optimum returns. Her first steps will be from a year to two years.”
Halle has two hours of physio in the morning and two hours in the afternoon, and uses a standing frame for 15 minutes a day.
When the family returns home from Great Ormond Street in London she will continue to receive daily physio both privately and from the NHS.
Fran said: “I’m pleased and have no regrets whatsoever. It’s been hard and emotional work and so tiring, but absolutely 100 per cent worth it.”
However, waiting to hear how their daughter’s surgery had gone was a horrible experience.
She added: “It was horrific. I went down to theatre with her, watched her being anaesthetised. It was mine and Tim’s wedding anniversary. It was an emotional moment for us. We walked around London for four hours and I do not remember what we did.
“We kept walking and walking to keep ourselves occupied. When we heard she was in recovery we ran back to hospital.”
The final fundraising event begins on Sunday, September 3 at 4am, with around 30 people taking part in a 27-mile walk along the Green Wheel, starting and finishing at The Bull in Newborough with a celebration at the pub afterwards.