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Donations pay for vital op to help pain-wracked Sheldon teen

Family overwhelmed as donations pay for vital op to help pain-wracked teen.

Jake Foster
Jake Foster

A Sheldon teenager with a rare inherited disease has been given a new lease of life just days after undergoing an operation which was refused on the NHS.

It took just a few months for the £10,000 to be raised to fund Jake Foster’s operation after the local community and beyond learned of the 13-year-old’s plight and donated to the cause.

Jake suffers from Leigh’s Disease, a painful condition that causes his limbs to spasm and lock, leaving his hip joints constantly dislocated.

The condition has already claimed the life of his brother Robert, who died when he was four-years-old. The family’s only hope of relieving Jake’s pain was a procedure called a selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR), which is aimed at easing the pain by cutting nerves in his back, allowing him to move his limbs. But after NHS funding for Jake’s operation was dropped at the last minute, his family were inundated with donations from members of the public and managed to raise enough cash to pay for the operation privately.

Jake had the procedure last Friday and mum Debbie said she has already started seeing improvements.

“Jake has been doing great since the operation and already we have noticed a dramatic improvement,” Debbie, aged 45, said.

“His leg was crossed over permanently and now it is almost in a normal position.

“His fists were permanently clenched and now they’re starting to open.

Rob and Debbie Foster and their son Jake, from Sheldon
Rob and Debbie Foster and their son Jake, from Sheldon

“The improvement we are starting to see in a few days is just amazing.

“You can see in his face that he just seems a lot happier and he’s attempting to sit up. This is really going to improve his quality of life and he will be in less pain.”

Jake received donations not just from his local community but from people across the country.

“We have just been overwhelmed by people’s generosity,” Debbie added.

“People who we don’t even know have donated and we just can’t thank everyone enough.”

An NHS England spokesman said the SDR would not typically be considered as a treatment for patients with Leigh’s Disease.



Cathrina Hulse
Multimedia Journalist
Annette Belcher
Multimedia Journalist
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