YOUNGSTERS who have undergone life changing surgery – or are about to receive the operation – now have a new facility to improve their strength.
Four children who all suffer from cerebral palsy were joined by their family at the opening of a new ‘gym’ in Blyth on Friday, designed to help their specialist needs.
Steven Jones, managing director of HTL in Blyth, has allowed the unit at the Riverside Business Park on Coniston Road to be converted into a specialised gym with cross trainers and weight machines to help the youngsters.
Previously the youngsters had to travel to Perth in Scotland to work with personal trainer Mike Poole – costing time and money.
Three of the group, including six-year-old Archie Anderson, from Ashington, have already travelled to America for life changing selective dorsal rhizotomy surgery, and eight-year-old Callum Brown, from Seaton Sluice, is due to undergo the surgery next week.
His mum Sharon said: “Previously the children had to travel around 300 miles to Perth in Scotland where the rehabilitation sessions were held.
“This gym means we can get the support we need closer to home, there are so many different bits of kit you need that work different muscles.
“We were travelling to Perth to use all this equipment, so to be able to go just down the road is amazing.
“Mike is training up Jo Shallcross in the specific pysiotherapy that Callum needs, so he will be able to get on with it in Blyth as soon as he can once he’s had the operation.
“We have been in here getting Callum ready for the operation and now he’s seen how well all the other SDR kids are doing, he just wants to get the operation done so he can progress as well as they have.
“He’s been talking to the other kids about the operation and about how you can have different tasting gas, and he just wants to get there now and have it done so he can catch up with the others.
“We are really grateful for this unit, it’s excellent.”
Archie’s Dad Alan said: “There’s so much equipment that they need when they have had the surgery to keep them fit and to get the strength in their legs back up, it would be impossible to try and store it all.
“With the best will in the world, your house isn’t going to be big enough to store all the equipment that they need, so this facility is excellent.
“It not only means that the equipment is all in one place, but it means that the children can bounce off each other as well, as they are all going through the same thing.
“The difference in Archie since he had the operation is massive.
“He always wanted to be able to run and play with his friends and would get down because he couldn’t join in.
“To be able to see him joining in and being able to play makes it all worthwhile.”
Seven-year-old Ben Elliott from Forest Hall, and Lily Gordon, also seven, from North Shields, will be using the gym to regain strength following an operation to combat their condition.