Campaign to give sports-mad Ronnie a chance to excel on and off the pitch

PUBLISHED: 15:53 26 February 2018 | UPDATED: 15:53 26 February 2018

L to R: Steve, Ronnie, Clare and Frank. Picture: Contributed.

L to R: Steve, Ronnie, Clare and Frank. Picture: Contributed.


The parents of a three-year-old boy from Saffron Walden who has cerebral palsy are hoping to raise £30,000 to pay for an operation in the USA which would allow their son to walk independently and make a huge difference to his quality of life.

Ronnie with his gait trainer. Picture: CONTRIBUTEDRonnie with his gait trainer. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Just 4 Children, a charity which provides fundraising support for families, want to help Ronnie Leys fulfil his dream to walk without tripping or falling over by raising money for an operation that is not available on the NHS.

Doctors said Ronnie’s was an unusual case of spastic diplegia cerebral palsy as he was not a premature baby, but born at 40 weeks and two days. After complications during birth, including a brain haemorrhage and a seizure, Ronnie spent the first 16 days of his life in the care of Addenbrooke’s Hospital and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of two.

Since then, he has become a keen sportsman, attending swimming lessons, dance and music lessons weekly and he is a member of ‘Cambridge in the Community’ cerebral palsy football team.

Ronnie’s mother, Clare Leys, said playing football is one of the many reasons behind his incredible journey and progression to date.

Ronnie is a member of ‘Cambridge in the Community’ cerebral palsy football team. Picture: CONTRIBUTEDRonnie is a member of ‘Cambridge in the Community’ cerebral palsy football team. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Steve Leys, Ronnie’s father, said: “The operation costs are £20,000 and Ronnie will require extreme physiotherapy daily until he recovers fully. We are looking for £30,000 altogether which covers the operation, after care at the hospital, accommodation and physiotherapy sessions.”

Ronnie’s parents have accepted that an operation known as selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) is the next and only remaining option which would help Ronnie walk independently.

Mr Leys added: “Although £30,000 is the target there is no limit, the biggest success rate for SDR is in St Louis, USA and that operation costs £40,000 alone with estimated £40,000 fees after the operation. We just want to be in a position to offer Ronnie the operation first and foremost but are still open to all avenues.

“The hospital in St Louis is the dream but we are more than happy to be using the Bristol children’s hospital as they have been trained by Dr Parkes in America.”

Just 4 Children has raised £5,324 for Ronnie so far and donations can be made by texting FITE67 and any amount to 70070.

The campaign is called ‘Run, Ronnie, Run’ which can be found on Just 4 Children website where donations can also be made.


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