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Family aims to raise £80,000 so that New Addington schoolboy can walk unaided


EARLIER this year people from across the world helped pay for life-changing surgery for a disabled child in New Addington.

Now another family on the estate have launched a fundraising campaign of their own so their son can access the same treatment.

Malachi Reid, 10, has cerebral palsy, a condition which leaves him unable to walk without the help of a frame.

He has been given hope of walking unaided after being accepted for Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR), a specialist operation performed in the US.

Later this year Scarlett Hewitt, 7, will undergo the same procedure after her family raised £65,000, helped by Premier League footballers and donations from South Korea and Brazil, in just four months.

Their amazing achievement has given Coleen Reid, Malachi's mother, hope she will reach her target, set at £80,000, because the cost of the operation has increased.

"As much as the fundraising will be hard work I know it will be worth every minute," she told the Advertiser this week.

"It's a huge amount of money but Scarlet's campaign has made me believe that anything is possible."

Malachi, who lives in Kennelwood Crescent, was diagnosed with spastic diplegia, a form of cerebral palsy, after being born six weeks premature.

The condition causes the muscles is his legs to tighten which leaves him unable to walk without help and needing a wheelchair for longer distances.

"He's becoming more aware of his own limitations as he gets older," said Mrs Reid.

"It's frustrating for him that he has to keep asking for help.

"I have to do things for him, like help him shower, and it's making him sad. I think he feels like a burden.

"So for him to be able to achieve some level of independence... I can't even find the words to describe it.

"This operation would change his life. It's going to give him better posture, better balance. His level of comfort will improve. Hopefully he will be able to walk unaided."

Malachi, a pupil at Fairchildes Primary, in New Addington, performs in the school's steel band and goes horseriding as part of his therapy.

He dreams of playing football with his friends instead of having to be the referee.

"He sits there with his wheelchair and a whistle but he wants to run around," said Mrs Reid.

"He's an active boy. He wants to be out there and wants to achieve, but his condition is holding him back."

Mrs Reid, a creche worker, set up a JustGiving page last Sunday and has already raised more than £2,500. The campaign will now begin in earnest, helped by tips from Scarlett's mother.

Lisa Hewitt said: "It's lovely that we have been able to inspire people.

"Malachi is in a very similar situation to Scarlett. The operation could make a massive difference to his life.

"The community in New Addington have been fantastic for us. Malachi goes to school here so he already has a great base of support.

"We've been adding our ideas to the good ones Coleen has had. Hopefully it will spur her on to achieve the target she needs in a similar time frame as us."

In August the NHS announced SDR will be made available to 120 children a year. Malachi, however, does not qualify because, by the time he is assessed and placed on the waiting list, he will be too old.

His family hope to raise the money by next Easter so he does not miss too much school.

Mrs Reid said: "There's no time to waste. He's reached a peak now. It's only going to get worse. Cerebral palsy is crippling him."

To donate to the campaign, visit www.justgiving.com/Malachisonlywish

Family aims to raise £80,000 so that New Addington schoolboy can walk unaided

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