BEHIND his infectious smile, little Phillip Scott has one dream – to take his first steps.
The four-year-old has been in a wheelchair after being born three months premature.
But parents Paul and Diane, of Silksworth, Sunderland, have been offered new hope and are urging Wearsiders to help their son.
After exhausting all options through the NHS, the couple are fighting to raise the cash needed to send their son on an intensive physiotherapy course.
Paul, 47, said: “For our family, to see Phillip walk would be fantastic.”
Phillip spent his first few weeks in hospital. Weighing a tiny 3lbs 9oz, medics carried out tests, which revealed he had hydrocephalus – fluid on the brain.
Phillip was transferred to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary where he underwent an operation to have a shunt fitted in his brain to help release the build-up of cerebral spinal fluid.
On Valentine’s Day 2008, the day he was supposed to be born, Phillip was allowed home with Paul and Diane, sister Samantha, 12, and brother Christian, five.
During a check-up at Sunderland Royal Hospital’s neo-natal unit, concerns were raised over his development.
At 10 months old, Phillip was diagnosed with four limb spastic cerebral palsy, which affects his legs, arms and torso. He has to use a buggy-type wheelchair and is unable to carry out daily tasks.
Phillip also has to make frequent visits to hospital and every six months has botox injections to help relax his muscles.
Paul, of Vicarage Road, said: “At first, we were all devastated but we knew we just had to get on with it.
“He has regular physiotherapy sessions, which help him, but we want to be able to give him the best chance we can to be able to carry out normal things.”
While carrying out research, Paul and Diane, 42, came across the Footsteps Foundation in Oxfordshire, which offers intensive physiotherapy to children and young adults with cerebral palsy.
Paul said: “We hope that this treatment will help Phillip take his first steps.
“The pain for him is there all the time. His muscles are aching. He just gets on with it and has a smile on his face. He tries to walk so the determination is there.”
A three-week course at Footsteps costs £1,300. A buskers’ night was held at Washington Arts Centre, raising £465.
Anyone able to help should contact Paul or Diane on 523 6302 or email firstname.lastname@example.org