Harry taking big steps forward


There is no stopping Harry Finch now.

Given his sheer willpower, the Abbotsford 4-year-old is walking with the use of a frame - just three months after major spinal surgery - and his parents say they would be surprised if he was not able to walk to school when he starts in June next year.

Harry was born with spastic diplegia cerebral palsy, which meant the muscles in his legs were always contracted, making it impossible for him to learn to walk.

Harry Finch is upright and walking with a frame, just three months after major spine surgery in...
Harry Finch is upright and walking with a frame, just three months after major spine surgery in the United States. PHOTO: CHRISTINE O'CONNOR
But since having surgery on his spine at St Louis Children's Hospital in Missouri earlier this year to release the muscle tension in his legs, he has been making great progress towards walking on his own again.

His mum, Bex Finch, said he had been going to physiotherapy every day and swimming every Friday, and he had recently started using a walking frame - all aimed at building strength in his legs.

"He's doing great.

"It's only been in the last week or two that he's been able to push the walker himself, hold himself upright, balance and take steps.

"It's pretty amazing. I thought it might take a year until he was at that stage, but it's only been just less than three months since his surgery.

"He's gained so much more confidence. He's got more mobility now and he can go where he wants.''

Mrs Finch said he had taken to pulling wheelies in his frame, which was scaring the living daylights out of her and husband Hayden, because it looked like he was going to fall backwards.

He had also started walking up his street to the house of one of his neighbours (whom he adores), and loved to ring her doorbell.

Specialists said it was likely to be many years before Harry could walk on his own.

But Mrs Finch said, given his progress so far, it was not beyond the realms of possibility that he may be able to walk through the school gates on his own in June.

"You don't know. I thought it would be a year and he would be walking in his walker, but he's doing it already and it's only been about three months.

"So who knows?''

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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