The family of a ‘little hero’ battling a rare hip disorder which means he can’t run and jump around when he wants like other four-year-olds are on a mission to raise awareness of the condition.
When Harry Lightfoot complained of a ‘poorly leg’ last December, mum Juliette and dad Chris initially put it down to muscle pain.
But the pain persisted so Juliette and Chris sought medical advice and, after being referred to specialists at Royal Stoke University Hospital, the youngster was finally diagnosed with Perthes Disease, which affects one in 12,000 children.
The disorder is caused by a lack of blood flow to the ball of the femur, which leads to the bone softening and unable to grow, causing mobility issues.
Chris, an airline pilot based at Manchester Airport, said: “Children with Perthes have good days and bad days.
“Some days Harry is running around and others he is in a wheelchair.
“On medical advice he isn’t allowed to run and jump like a four-year-old wants to.
“We’ve seen our son, who is so bouncy and happy, become gradually less mobile and walk with a very pronounced limp, as well as being in pain frequently.”
Harry has undergone surgery to encourage bone regrowth and will spend the next six weeks in a spica cast, and because of his age he stands a good chance of a full recovery.
Juliette said: “Harry has been truly amazing.
“He’s never complained and through both surgeries and hospital stays he has been so brave.
“He really is our little hero and always has a smile on his face.”
Now the family, who live in Alpraham, want to raise the profile of Perthes Disease so parents know what to look for and also to highlight the work being done by Perthes Association.
“Our care under the NHS from diagnosis to treatment has been very quick,” said Juliette.
“However, I have read of other cases that go undiagnosed for a couple of years and this can affect the long-term outcome.
“The reason for us wanting to raise awareness is that when you know there is something wrong with your child, pursue it and don’t give up.”
Chris completed gruelling 69-mile ultra-marathon The Wall last month in aid of Perthes Association, raising more than £7,000.
“Perthes Association has given us plenty of advice and support,” he said.
“They’re a tiny charity and their total income last year was only £96,000 so I was really desperate to help them.”
If you would like to sponsor Chris’ ultramarathon effort, click here.