Published: 00:01, 17 February 2019
A little girl who had major surgery to allow her to walk unaided has undergone a second operation.
Seven-year-old Ellice Barr from Deal, who has cerebral palsy, returned to the operating theatre at The Portland Hospital in London last Friday.
The three-hour procedure to lengthen her calves came just six months after selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) surgery which the community helped raise £65,000 to fund.
It was always known that the Downs Primary School pupil would need the second operation t help her flatten the position of her foot.
Her parents Joe and Amy Barr, of Magness Road, say it will improve their daughter’s quality of life and enable her to make further strides in her rehabilitation.
She will be in her pink casts for four to six weeks.
Mr Barr said: “Although the SDR has taken away the spasticity in her legs, her calves grew short due to her walking on her toes.
“This surgery on both legs is designed to improve the calf length.
“This in turn will help Ellice get her feet flatter. They can’t promise 100% like you and me, but it will improve her quality of life massively. Then we can continue with her rehabilitation.”
Ellice who had her six-month review at the end of January is now noticeably more mobile, no longer requiring a frame to walk short distances.
Mr Barr said: “She is exactly where they had hoped she would be at this point in her rehabilitation. She doesn’t like having to use her walking aids anymore.
“She had an improvement of 50metres in her walking assessment compared to pre-SDR.
“I know to some this doesn’t sound much but for a child with cerebral palsy, it’s huge.
“She was able to jump with no splints on for the first time at her review too.”
Ellice’s Wish to Walk campaign ran from December 2017 until the summer of 2018, with many local groups and individuals holding fundraising events from coffee mornings to marathons.
The youngster was named the chosen charity for the 2017 Boxing Day Dip, received £10,000 from the Rooney Foundation, and was given the VIP treatment as a mascot at the family’s beloved Millwall Football Club.
Mr Barr says his family are are still blown away by the continued support for Ellice and have now re-started fundraising, with a target of £6,500, to pay for garden improvements.
He said: “Ellice’s new found movement has highlighted some problems that she didn’t think she’d have the luxury of facing.
“Her goal for summer 2019 is to be able to play in the back garden with her brother, Jay, but it needs levelling, artificial grass laid and some raised beds installed.
“Not only will it be amazing to see her play in a place she never thought she’d be able to play in, it will also help her to gain strength as part of her rehabilitation.”
To donate go to: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/ellice