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£50,000 target as Alder Hey Children’s Hospital agrees to operate on Stansted schoolboy Arthur Bowie





Indies Child of Courage winner Arthur Bowie is a giant step closer to his dream of walking – but first his parents need to raise £50,000.

Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool has agreed to operate on the five-year-old, a pupil at Bentfield Primary School in Stansted.

Mum Paula told the Indie after the family received confirmation on Tuesday (April 2): “After a long two-and-a-bit years, we finally have a ‘yes’ for SDR [selective dorsal rhizotomy].

Arthur Bowie
Arthur Bowie

“Even with this happy news, we are still hard at work fundraising. We can’t stop as Arthur does not meet the NHS funding criteria so we need to self-fund the operation.”

Despite an initial estimate of £13,000, the surgery to relieve spasticity in Arthur’s legs to help achieve his aim of walking could now cost up to £25,000. Paula and husband Andy will also have to foot the bill for the specialist physiotherapy and rehabilitation he will need as he recovers, taking their target to around £50,000.

Paula said: “We’ve done amazingly well and been supported by so many friends, family and members of the public and raised £25,000, but these funds have not been sat idle and have been put to good use providing Arthur with private physio and speech and language therapy for the last two years in preparation to get him as strong as possible for the operation, which has eaten into our fundraising pot by about half.

Arthur, then 3, with mum and dad Paula and Andy and younger brother Anderson. Pic: Vikki Lince
Arthur, then 3, with mum and dad Paula and Andy and younger brother Anderson. Pic: Vikki Lince

“We need a big push before we can book a date for the operation as we need the funds for the aftercare before we move ahead.”

Arthur has bilateral hearing loss, cerebral palsy and global developmental delay, but his cheery disposition earned him the Child of Courage award in the 2022 Indies Community Awards.

He was born prematurely when Paula, an operating department practitioner at the Holly Private Hospital in Buckhurst Hill, went into labour when she was just 28 weeks pregnant.

She and Andy, a senior test engineer at Sky Broadband, were attending a wedding in Verona, Italy, at the time.

Arthur receives his Rayden Solicitors Child of Courage award from Abby Westell at 2022’s Indies ceremony
Arthur receives his Rayden Solicitors Child of Courage award from Abby Westell at 2022’s Indies ceremony

Baby Arthur suffered a brain haemorrhage resulting in hydrocephalus and the couple were advised to say goodbye to him.

Arthur had other ideas. After eight weeks, he was well enough to fly back to the UK and continue his battle at NICUs (newborn intensive care units) at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge and Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow.

The tot spent his first 108 days in hospital and, during his first year, endured brain surgeries after VP (ventriculoperitoneal) shunt failures and multiple returns to hospital for respiratory illnesses.

Arthur’s family want to give him the chance to walk unaided
Arthur’s family want to give him the chance to walk unaided

Little wonder that the family, who formerly lived in Stansted, have dubbed their appeal Arthur’s Sword in the Stone – a reference to the legend of King Arthur seizing his destiny to reflect the youngster’s courage and battling spirit.

Paula and Andy, who are also mum and dad to three-year-old Anderson, have just moved to Henham so that Arthur can have a ground-floor bedroom.

Arthur, then 3, with mum Paula. Pic: Vikki Lince
Arthur, then 3, with mum Paula. Pic: Vikki Lince

Paula said: “The great thing is Alder Hey has spaces very quickly, so once we raise the funds we can get Arthur booked in.”

To donate, visit https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/arthursswordinthestone.



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