After Junior was born with severe cerebral palsy and spastic diplegia, his legs and feet were so stiff and tight that he couldn’t walkHAPPY Junior Exon shares a special Christmas moment with the sister who helped her take his first steps.Junior, three, was born with Severe Cerebral Palsy cerebral palsy and spastic diplegia. His legs and feet were so stiff and tight that he couldn’t walk.But after pioneering surgery in the US, and with sister Gracie’s loving help, he can now move under his own steam.
Proud mum Rosie, 43, of Shepshed, Leics, says: “Without Gracie, I don’t think Junior would be anywhere near as advanced as he is now.“Junior doesn’t let anything hold her back. He’s very clever and quickly learned that if he falls, it hurts. But by copying Gracie, he quickly became a lot more mobile.After pioneering surgery in the US and with sister Gracie’s loving help, he can now move under his own steam.“Gracie’s the naughty leader. When Junior realised he could move about by herself, he started doing more and more of what his sister was doing.“I can’t describe my happiness at seeing my little boy walking by herself. It is a day I thought I may never see. This will be the happiest Christmas ever.
“I am so proud of Junior and Gracie. Junior struggled to sit or stand and needed a walker to take steps. He had to wear orthopaedic boots and underwent regular physiotherapy.Rosie says: “Gracie never saw her brother’s limitations. They work as a team. If he cries, she sorts her out. They have such a special bond.”Rosie and husband Paul, 45, heard about cutting-edge surgery in the US called Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy, in which damaged sensory fibre nerves that cause muscle stiffness are cut.Rosie says: “When he took his first steps it was amazing. Gracie does his physio sessions with her. The physios realised that if they wanted more out of Junior, they’d need to get Gracie onside.”The twins will start school next year and Rosie says: “She is fiery and he’s as cool as a cucumber. They complement each other perfectly and take on any challenge. Thanks to Gracie, the sky’s the limit for Junior.”