Jumping for joy: Boy who was confined to wheelchair is on his feet after 45,000 operation in America
12:41 GMT, 25 April 2012
Up on his feet: Hari, two, now loves jumping in puddles
A boy can now have fun splashing in puddles after life-changing surgery in the U.S helped him to run and jump for the first time.
Hari Kieft, 2, was diagnosed with spastic diplegic cerebral palsy after being born 10 weeks premature, leaving him confined to a wheelchair.
His devoted parents Cerianne and Richard feared he may never walk and play like other children.
But, after friends and family raised a staggering 45,000, he jetted out to St Louis Children’s Hospital in Missouri for a life-changing surgery.
There, neurosurgeon Dr Tae Park performed an operation to cut the nerves in Hari’s spine to release the spasticity in his legs.
Now, just five weeks later, Hari is on his feet for the first time.
Mrs Kieft said: 'It’s a new beginning. That is how it feels. We’ve almost got to the stage where we forget that Hari used to get around by crawling, even though that was only five weeks ago.
'Now he has discovered puddles – he loves jumping in puddles.'
Mr Kieft added: 'In the playground he can play a lot more than he did before because he has the ability to get around.
'Before we would have to hold him or go on the playground rides with him.'
Hari, who turns 3 next month, from Neath, South Wales, has now been walking for five weeks – and will undergo physiotherapy aftercare.
When asked what the surgeon did for him, Hari immediately chirped: 'He fixed my legs.'
Mrs Kieft said: 'We are still in touch with the hospital. There’s a Facebook page linked to the hospital and you can post messages, pictures and videos.
'Hari’s new skill is being able to stand and pick up objects from the floor. We put that on Facebook and we had an email off the physiotherapist, who was really thrilled with his progress.
'Because of his determination and his progress they are very interested in Hari, because he has exceeded all expectations.'
After the operation: Hari with his mother Cerianne, father Richard and sister Olivia
Hari starts school later this year and won't have to rely on a wheelchair or walking frame to get around.
Although they were apprehensive about the spinal surgery they said they are now convinced they made the right decision.
Mrs Kieft said: 'Belief and faith got us to America.
'If we didn’t believe Hari would walk and if we didn’t have faith in Dr Park, we would not have got there.
'This is not a cure. It is an opportunity for a child to have a better quality of life, and for Hari that means walking and independence.'