Give brave little Tal a new lease of life

Tal Campbell
Tal Campbell
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AN AUNTY is hoping Wearsiders can help her brave three-year-old nephew get on his feet.

Tal Campbell needs a life-changing operation only available in America which will allow him to walk without support and relieve him from frequent pain.

The tot was born with cerebral palsy and suffers from severe cramp.

His condition means he must sit in a “w” shape – on his knees with his bottom between his feet – so he can use his hands. Sitting like this, if uncorrected, can lead to hip deformities.

Mum Claire said: “It will be amazing to see him take his first steps. Most parents have had that by now and know how exciting it is, but for us it will be very special.”

Great aunt Pam Tate, who runs the Belmont guest house in Roker, said the family must raise £42,000 to fund the procedure.

“He’s a lovely little lad, and he’s always happy. But he’s frequently in pain due to cramps in his feet,” she said.

“His parents massage him to relax his body for sleeping at night and at that time Tal will say whether he has had a good feet day or a bad feet day. We want every day to be a good feet day for him.”

She added: “The operation is a chance to walk independently and to lead a relatively normal life, and it has a 100 per cent success rate.

“The operation isn’t available in the UK, and if he doesn’t get it in the early years of life with considerable physiotherapy afterwards, there is little chance of being capable of mobility without support.”

Tal lives with dad Jon and mum Claire, both 31, and younger brother Gethin.

Jon, a part-time GP, is from Southwick, but the family now live in Cardiff.

Claire, who is training to be a GP, said: “Tal’s amazing. He’s a little star and can talk like an adult.

“I think sometimes people are a bit surprised because he crawls up to them, then starts talking to them like and adult.”

Claire said the operation had now been approved by the UK’s National Council for Clinical Excellence (Nice) but was yet to be offered by health services.

She said her and John, who met while studying at Cardiff University, were very thankful for the efforts of family, friends and supporters.

Close family have paid for flights. Pam’s sister has successfully offered her house in France up in a house-swap with an American so Tal and family have somewhere to stay during the operation and recovery.

Pam added: “I’ve raised money for all kinds of charities over the years, but this time I’ve felt awkward asking people for things because it’s for my family.”

The family have so far raised £30,000 and are hopeful they can hit their target by the time of the operation in June.

* Pam has organised a live music fund-raiser at the Smugglers pub in Roker on Thursday with band Feed the Bear.

Echo readers can find out more about Tal and donate towards his operation online at www.talsgoodfeet.org.