Long Melford: Matt Townrow starting to see the benefit of £25,000 surgery and family thank those who helped fund life-saving surgery

Matt Townrow with his brother Ed, his mum Lisa and dad Mike. Matt Townrow with his brother Ed, his mum Lisa and dad Mike.

Thursday, January 2, 2014
2:33 PM

The mother of a six-year-old Suffolk boy who recently underwent life-changing surgery has told of her gratitude to the hundreds of people who helped raise more than £40,000 to pay for his treatment.

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Matt Townrow at his home in Long MelfordMatt Townrow at his home in Long Melford

Matt Townrow, of Clopton Drive, Long Melford, has cerebral palsy and has to rely on splints on his legs, a walking frame and a wheelchair to get around.

In a bid to give the sports-mad youngster a chance of eventually walking short distances unaided, the Townrow family set about raising the £25,000 needed to pay for surgery known as selective dorsal rhizotomy. The complicated procedure is designed to free up restrictive muscle stiffness.

The family, including dad Mike and seven-year-old brother Ed, organised a number of fundraising events and they set up a JustGiving page. His 64-year-old grandma, Julia Jones, even did a parachute jump for the cause.

Matt’s mum, Lisa Townrow, said she was amazed at the generosity shown – often by complete strangers – which resulted in raising £44,000.

This enabled Matt to have the surgery in November, and it will pay for vital physiotherapy over the next three years.

Mrs Townrow said her son was already showing promising signs of improvement.

“He is doing really well,” she said. “He has lots of weakness because the stiff muscles masked that before the operation, so he has a huge rehabilitation programme ahead of him.

“He can sit cross-legged for the first time and he is doing all that the doctors expected him to be able to do at this time. He is also taller since the operation which is a good sign.

“Already he says his legs don’t hurt and he is easier to handle.

“No-one will say he will definitely walk but the feeling is very good and everyone is very excited about it.”

Matt sees an NHS physiotherapist three times a week and the money raised has enabled this to be supplemented with extra physiotherapy sessions.

The youngster, who studies for three days a week at Long Melford Primary and two at Thomas Wolsey School in Ipswich, is looking forward to getting back to school this term.

He is also keen to resume his horse riding sessions at the Shelley Centre near Hadleigh and swimming lessons in Ipswich.