Wales This Week: Garin's Story

When he was just two-years-old, Garin Morgan was told he would never be able to walk after being diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

But after a life changing operation, and months of gruelling physiotherapy- he’s now exceeding everybody’s expectations.

As a baby, Garin was just like any other child of his age, but as he grew older his parents began to worry about his development.

These concerns led to his parents Ashley and Adele seeking medical help, and when Garin was just two-year-old, he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

I started going through his life in fast forward, how is it going to affect him in school, how is it going to affect you know his education, job, how is it going to affect his relationship with other people, all this was like going through my head. When you get told a major thing like that. I know it wasn’t life threatening or anything but you know it does knock you for six.

Ashley Morgan

Cerebral palsy is caused by a problem in the parts of the brain responsible for controlling muscles.

The condition can occur if the brain develops abnormally, or is damaged during, or shortly after birth.

Symptoms include muscle stiffness, muscle weakness and balance co-ordination problems.

Months of physio were required to build Garin's muscles, balance and coordination Credit: ITV Wales

A glimmer of hope lay in a groundbreaking operation pioneered in America, but not currently available on the NHS in Wales.

Selective dorsal rhizotomy is an operation used to improve spasticity in the muscles of children with cerebral palsy and involves cutting nerves in the lower spine that are responsible for muscle rigidity.

With the operation available at Bristol Children’s Hospital, Garin’s family began the daunting task of raising more than £60,000.

The surgery was a success, and after two-years of physiotherapy, Garin can not only only walk confidently, but can hop, skip, jump and kick a football.

I couldn’t really like stand or walk on my own and I needed support for everything I did with my legs...It was really life changing for me because I knew that I could be capable of doing things that I couldn’t do before.

Garin Morgan
Garin can now confidently walk, skip, hop and jump as well as play football Credit: ITV Wales

Another family who have benefited from SDR, are the Hurrell’s from Penylan, Cardiff.

11-year-old Imogen Hurrell, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when she was eight-months-old.

Imogen's family raised money for her to have the operation in America Credit: Family photo

After undergoing Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy in America, Imogen's mobility has greatly improved.

Imogen’s Mum Sue, is now a trustee of Support4SDR Wales, a charity established to provide support and advice to families who are considering or whose children have undergone SDR surgery.

The charity also works to ensure children in Wales have access on the NHS to both the surgery and necessary aftercare through discussions with government organisations and by raising awareness of the surgery.

Families at the moment can't be certain as to whether the NHS will provide the funding, at the moment there is no certainty about funding for SDR for children in Wales...For our charity, it's very important that SDR becomes available on the NHS. We've seen so many children in Wales benefit massively from this surgery. It isn't for everyone, but for those children it does benefit it is life changing.

Sue Hurrell

You can watch the full story on Wales This Week, tonight at 8.00pm on ITV Cymru Wales