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Maidstone boy can have life-changing opportunity after mum raises thousands of pounds online


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A Maidstone mum has raised more than £2,000 in just over 24 hours to give her five-year-old son a chance of normal life after life-changing surgery failed.

Laura Cockburn, from Bargrove Road, created the Facebook appeal for her child Jacob’s post-operation physical therapy.

From left: Jacob Burrows, 5, and his mum Laura. Picture: Laura Cockburn
From left: Jacob Burrows, 5, and his mum Laura. Picture: Laura Cockburn

It represents her last hope to treat the young boy’s neck condition after a series of treatments, physical therapy and operation.

The mum set an initial goal of £600, which was surpassed in just a few hours. So far the fundraiser stands at £2,525, with 73 people having donated through Facebook and a few private donations.

She said: "I wasn't expecting to reach what I asked for and I passed that. I didn’t really know what to say! I didn’t ask too much to start with because I didn’t want to look greedy."

Jacob was diagnosed with hip dysplasia at six weeks old, a condition defined by the malformation of the 'ball and socket' joint of the hip.

Jacob had to wear a harness for three months after diagnosed with hip dysplasia. Picture: Laura Cockburn
Jacob had to wear a harness for three months after diagnosed with hip dysplasia. Picture: Laura Cockburn

After wearing a harness for three months, Jacob was also diagnosed with torticollis, which was discovered during his physical therapy for the hip dysplasia.

This means he is only able to move his head a quarter of what he should be able to.

Last December, he went under a major operation at the Tunbridge Wells Hospital to release the muscle in his neck.

The 33-year-old recalled feeling incredibly nervous as Jacob was under the high-risk operation.

She said: "There was a high chance that we could lose him or that he could have been left paralyzed on the left-hand side or left with brain damage. I was really nervous about it.

"His surgeon said that the operation should take about four hours and he came up off the two. And obviously I thought the worst him coming up that soon afterwards, but he said that it went better than expected."

Happy and fearless: Going to the hospital was never a problem to Jacob. Picture: Laura Cockburn
Happy and fearless: Going to the hospital was never a problem to Jacob. Picture: Laura Cockburn
The young boy in hospital just after having his first surgery. Picture: Laura Cockburn
The young boy in hospital just after having his first surgery. Picture: Laura Cockburn

Unfortunately, however, the operation ended up not successful and Jacob might need to undergo the same procedure again.

Laura said that even though it all looked well, one cannot know the full outcome of the operation until later.

They found out something was wrong when Jacob's physiotherapist asked for an MRI scan, after concerns of Jacob having a curvature of the spine.

She added: "We got the results and when we saw his consultant this Tuesday (7), he said that Jacob's muscle was so tight it's like he's not even had the operation.

"I really wasn't expecting it. I thought there would be more physio, but I didn't think that he would have to have the operation again.

"His consultant said he's never heard of anyone that's had to have the operation done twice, so he'll look into everything first before making a decision."

Jacob spends a lot of time in his wheelchair as he often has temporary paralysis on his legs. Picture: Laura Cockburn
Jacob spends a lot of time in his wheelchair as he often has temporary paralysis on his legs. Picture: Laura Cockburn

Fortunately, little Jacob does not let his condition bother him and tries to carry on with a normal life at home and at Bearsted Primary Academy, in Maidstone.

His mother said: "He is happy as anything and he just gets on with it! There's no trouble in getting him in the hospital or anything and he also gets on fine at school.

"I told the school that he can just carry on with his everyday activities and they will let me know if he can’t do something.

"One time in gymnastics class he tried playing on the hanging bar, but that hurt his neck so he can’t do that. But he will give everything a go and try!"

Laura hopes to carry on with the fundraiser and raise more money. Her and Jacob are receiving support from their family, Jacob's dad, and from many people on social media.

Jacob with his dad, Garry Burrows. Picture: Laura Cockburn
Jacob with his dad, Garry Burrows. Picture: Laura Cockburn

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