“Julian goes crazy for chips and pasta, and loves hunting every chocolate egg with a toy in it. Though very young, he is already well conversant with tablets, mobile phones and telephone sets – he simply wants to speak to anyone who calls,” says Julian’s mother Tanya with a huge smile.
Julian Camilleri is just like any other Maltese three-year-old. He is curious, loves interacting with the world around him, and is getting to grasp with his newfound ability to speak.
However, Julian does not have the ability to stand on his feet unaided, and cannot walk without a frame walker.
Julian, who was born prematurely and suffers from cerebral palsy and spastic diplegia, starts his day with stretches of all his leg muscles – muscles that can suddenly and uncontrollably tighten or go stiff, making it impossible to walk or stand for long durations.
Throughout the day he must use his walker, or else crawl to move around.
However, Julian doesn’t let anything hold him back.
He swims every Saturday, partakes in a horse-riding session once a week, and attends Frame Football every Wednesday.
And Julian is determined to regain control of his legs – and there is a surgical procedure in America that may just be able to give him his legs back.
The only problem is it costs an exorbitant amount of money – about $50,000.
“Later on this year, on the 10th of July, Julian will undergo a major surgery at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, in St. Louis, Missouri, which will remove his spasticity which he has in his legs,” says his mother.
Following this surgery, Julian will need to carry out intensive physical therapy, over a number of months, in the form of a rigorous post-op protocol which might give him the chance to move about independently or with minimal assistance.
“From a surgery perspective, this surgery is the only hope which would permanently remove his spasticity in his legs (the spasticity is a result of the brain damage which is restricting the brain from sending correct signals to the legs/feet),” she said.
“Whilst highly successful, this is a major surgery as it involves the spine and rootlets going down from the brain to the legs. Once the surgery is successfully performed, the spasticity would be permanently removed but Julian would be completely floppy and without strength in the legs – much worse than he is today,” she said.
However, there is hope at the end of the tunnel.
“With several months of daily therapy he would hopefully regain the strength required in his leg muscles to start ambulating on his own – that would be a dream come true for our family, but especially for Julian who wishes so much to be like other kids,” she ends.
Julian has already raised over $13,000 from over 372 supporters.