A BRAVE youngster is now able to walk further than a few yards on his own for the first time, thanks to pioneering surgery paid for by his fellow south east Northumbrians.
Archie Anderson, six, has been in St Louis in Missouri for the past month to undergo a surgical procedure called a selective dorsal rhizotomy surgery after well-wishers helped his family raise more than £80,000 to pay for it.
The cerebral palsy sufferer and his family returned home to Ashington on Sunday, and on Tuesday, he underwent his first post-op physiotherapy session back on English soil.
Mum Marie said: “It went fantastic. He went to the first physio session, and he is doing really well.
“His feet and his legs are so much straighter, and he is walking so much better already.
“I never thought he would be up on his feet so quickly and taking his first steps independently by himself.
“It has been a whirlwind from when we started fundraising in November to now. He has come so far.
“There was a lot of excitement going to America, and there is relief now that he is home safe and the operation was a success.
“This is what we have worked so hard for.
“It is a huge relief now that the op is over. That was the most worrying part.
“We had a few tantrums and tears when he fell over, but I just had to turn my back on him, and it has given him the confidence to know that he can walk by himself. He can do it.”
Archie, a pupil at St Aidan’s First School in Ashington, will be able to walk ever-greater distances as his legs get stronger, thanks to regular exercise and physiotherapy sessions.
“The hardest part is yet to come,” said Marie.
“He will have physio every day now and gym work to strengthen his legs, but he is very determined, so now we just need to build him up.
“He was playing with his friend next door, and he was chuffed to pieces.
“The goal is to get him back to school safely for the end of September.”
She added: “None of this would have been possible without everyone who helped us to reach our target. We are so grateful. It has been amazing.”