Little fighter Harper now pain free after life-changing surgery

Harper Sharrocks, five, after the SDR operation

Harper Sharrocks, five, after the SDR operation - Credit: Steve Sharrocks

A few months ago five-year-old Harper was unable to walk because she was in so much pain - now she's in ballet class. 

The little girl from Hellesdon, who has cerebral palsy, previously suffered unbearable muscle spasms.

But four months after a specialist operation Harper Sharrocks is defying expectations and is a "different child" who insists on moving everywhere on her own with the help of a frame.

The youngster had selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) at Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool on June 18 thanks to people across the city raising £65,000 for the procedure.

It took five hours and corrected Harper's muscle spasticity by cutting the nerve rootlets in her spinal cord that were sending abnormal signals to her muscles.

Pictured with her mum, Tasha, and dad, Steve, four-year-old Harper Sharrocks, who has cerebral palsy

Natasha and Steve Sharrocks with their daughter Harper, five, before the SDR operation - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Her parents Steve and Natasha Sharrocks, 35 and 34, want to fight for other parents of children with the condition who wish for them to have SDR.

Mr Sharrocks said: "It was the best thing we ever did. Harper is so much happier. She has come on leaps and bounds.

"Harper is a year ahead in terms of recovery. The doctors cannot believe how well she is doing. 

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"Her quality of life will be better than it was before the operation."

The area manager said before the SDR it took his daughter six minutes to walk down a 30 metre-long corridor in hospital.

Five-year-old Harper Sharrocks from Hellesdon who is recovering well after an SDR operation for cerebral palsy

Five-year-old Harper Sharrocks from Hellesdon who is recovering well after an SDR operation for cerebral palsy - Credit: Steve Sharrocks

But after a month-long stay at the Liverpool hospital, she could move a easier after the operation left her pain free.

Her mum, a medical secretary for the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital paediatric surgery department, said: "We feel relief. Before the operation, Harper was having horrendous spasms.

"We wish we didn't have to fight so hard. There are a lot of parents who shouldn't have to go through this. We want other children to have the best chance to succeed."

The couple are urging anyone who wants advice on getting referred for a specialist SDR consultation to get in touch at Harpers Little Helpers Facebook page.

Five-year-old Harper Sharrocks from Hellesdon who is recovering well after an SDRR operation

Five-year-old Harper Sharrocks from Hellesdon who is recovering well after an operation to relieve pain from her cerebral palsy - Credit: Steve Sharrocks

They also praised the support from people who helped raise the money for SDR and Alder Hey staff.

"They have changed her life and ours," Mrs Sharrocks added.

Harper Sharrocks (right) in a ballet class

Harper Sharrocks (right) in a ballet class - Credit: Steve Sharrocks

The five-year-old will continue to use a wheelchair and walking frame and is receiving physiotherapy, enjoys ballet and pilates.

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