Little Leo’s £45,000 operation to help him fulfil his football dream without his walking frame

He may not be able to stand unaided but little Leo Stott is a hot shot on the football pitch. With the help of his frame, the two-year-old attends weekly toddler training sessions at his local club.

His coach says Leo, who has cerebral palsy after suffering a stroke in the womb, can dribble and pass as well as other children his age.

But all he really wants to do is be able to play football without the help of his four-wheeled frame.
So his mother Cara Oldham is trying to raise £45,000 for an operation, which is not available on the NHS, that could allow Leo to walk and run unaided.

‘Leo absolutely loves football. It’s all he wants to do,’ the 24-year-old dental nurse said yesterday.
‘As far as I’m concerned he’s already a star because we once feared he would never be able to stand let alone kick a ball.

‘I don’t think anyone can believe how well he can control the ball while using his frame. But he told me once he just wants to be able to play without help and I want to make his dream come true.’
Leo, from Oldham, was diagnosed with spastic diplegic cerebral palsy at 18 months.

He has physiotherapy to strengthen his muscles and stood for the first time using a walking frame shortly before he turned two.

It meant Leo, who loves watching football on TV with his father, contract manager Sam Stott, 23, was able to kick a ball for the first time.

Miss Oldham said: ‘I don’t think anyone can believe how well he can control the ball while using his frame.’
Leo has been accepted for pioneering surgery at Leeds Hospital but the operation – a selective dorsal rhizotomy – is not funded by the NHS.

The procedure would release tension in his legs, allowing him to undergo more intensive physiotherapy to let him walk unaided – so he can try to fulfill his dream of becoming a soccer star

Miss Oldham has already raised £11,000 but is appealing for donations via for the £45,000 needed for the operation and two years of aftercare.