Help Samuel to get specialist treatment

Anna Wright with her two-year-old son Samuel.
Anna Wright with her two-year-old son Samuel.

A couple have made a fresh fund-raising appeal as they aim to take their son to the USA for some revolutionary treatment to help him walk.

Samuel Wright suffered a brain injury during birth and as a result was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

He pulled through, but as a result of the injury, the muscles in his body were affected – leaving him unable to walk, talk or eat.

Despite making huge progress, including learning to sit independently and to crawl and stand, Samuel, who is now two, relies on being tube fed and cannot talk.

His parents, Anna and Jonathan Wright, are aiming to raise £25,000 so he can spend three weeks at the Neurological and Physical Abilitation Center (NAPA) in Los Angeles, USA. It provides therapies and techniques that are not available in the UK.

The Wright family, which also includes 11-month-old Estella, live in Morpeth town centre.

Anna, 36, said: “After a normal, healthy pregnancy, Samuel started to struggle during labour and his heart rate began dipping.

“By the time he was born, he was not breathing and had only a very faint heart rate, which was soon lost. He was resuscitated for 23 minutes and then put onto a ventilator. During the birth and resuscitation, he was starved of oxygen, which caused serious brain damage.

“We were told that Samuel was very, very ill and was not expected to survive the night, however he is a little fighter and he did.

“He remained in hospital for a further two weeks then finally came home with us.

“There is no cure for cerebral palsy but there is medical evidence that early intervention, with physical and feeding therapy, is vital and can make a huge difference to a child’s life.

“Although we get some help from the NHS, we mostly have to pay for physiotherapy and speech and language therapy sessions ourselves.

“During our research, we came across the NAPA Center and we started fund-raising so Samuel could benefit from what it has to offer.

“We initially raised about £8,000 to take him to a pop-up clinic provided by members of the NAPA team in London and he received therapy two hours a day for three weeks.

“Samuel developed from occasionally dragging his body up to leaning over a surface to using his hips and legs to stand up at a bench and play. He started side-stepping in the second week and at the end of the third week, he was able to briefly stand up independently.

“We believe that as a result of this type of treatment, he will one day walk and will be able to experience the world around him in a happier and more involved way.

“If he goes over to the NAPA Center, he will receive the full range of therapies and be treated four hours a day for three weeks.”

After taking up exercise again following a break when she struggled to cope with Samuel’s diagnosis, the university lecturer took part in the Simplyhealth Great North 10k on Sunday as part of the fund-raising.

The run took participants on a scenic tour of the NewcastleGateshead Quayside and finished at Gateshead International Stadium.

She has so far brought in £1,600 from this activity.

“I suffered a broken toe last Thursday, but I was able to walk on it by Sunday and so the run wasn’t too bad,” she said.

“We’re very grateful to all those who have donated to us and the idea behind doing this event was to raise public awareness of our situation.”

To make a donation to Anna and Jonathan online, visit www.gofundme.com/SaveForSamuel