A CARDIGAN family has launched an appeal to raise £40,000 for a life-changing operation and treatment for their four-year-old son.

Alistair Barros Pearera and Jenny Griffiths, from Pont-y-Cleifion, hope to raise the cash for son Riley, who suffers from cerebral palsy after being born 16 weeks premature in April 2013.

At the time, Riley, who has started mainstream school, was labelled ‘miracle baby’ as he defied the odds to survive but he now needs further treatment which is no longer available on the NHS.

Dad Alistair, a site manager, said: “Riley was born 16 weeks early and spent his first four months in hospital. As a result, he has cerebral palsy and can’t walk.

“He gets pains in his legs at night and wakes up screaming with muscle cramps.”

There is a SDR (selective dorsal rhizotomy) operation which involves opening Riley’s spine and cutting away as much as 70 per cent of the nerves going to his leg that causes the spasticity.

This would help Riley in a big way by meaning he no longer needs more Botox treatments; it would reduce his spasticity; stop future pain and Riley may one day walk unaided.

However, the NHS has stopped funding such an operation back in 2011, though it is still available privately.

The surgery itself would costs £20,000 and that would be followed by two years of intensive physiotherapy and rehabilitation, with each year costing £20,000 – a total of £60,000.

“It is not a miracle cure and involves a lot of physio,” said Alistair.

Mum Jenny, who has a hairdressing business, added: “We have seen a consultant in Bristol who says the operation would benefit Riley and the quicker we can get it done the better because the younger he is, the more chance there is of it having an effect as Riley is still growing.

“Following the operation, the physiotherapy is just as important if not more so, to Riley’s recovery and future prospects. At the moment, we are looking at raising enough money for the operation and the first 12 months of physio.”

Their cause has been taken up by the Just4Children charity and anyone wishing to donate can go to https://just4children.org/children-helped2017/rileys-wish-to-walk