The courageous mum of cerebral palsy suffer Alice Bates is facing her own medical crisis and the risk of paralysis.
Charlotte Bates (39) has a slipped disc in her upper spine and little choice but to have surgery.
If she does nothing, she will be paralysed at some stage but the surgery itself also carries a high risk of paralysis.
Charlotte’s serious back problem was diagnosed in November and now, following an appointment at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, the Long Sutton mum is waiting to be admitted for surgery that carries the hope of a near normal life as well as the risk of permanent disability.
Charlotte is mum to six children, but most of her time is devoted to being nurse, physio and teacher for Alice, who is home-educated.
The family will pick up those duties during Charlotte’s stay in hospital and while she spends several months recuperating at her mum and dad’s London home.
Charlotte’s back has deteriorated rapidly and she must now use a wheelchair when she goes out.
She says: “I have no option other than to have major back surgery, which carries a high risk of paralysis. The prolapsed (slipped) disc has compressed my spinal cord and the cord is wrapped around it in such a way that the only way to access it is through my ribs.
“If left I will definitely end up paralysed at some stage and, given how quickly I have been deteriorating, I don’t think it will take that much longer.
“The risk of paralysis from the surgery is better odds than the risk of paralysis from leaving things alone but it needs to be done urgently.
“It is unlikely the surgery will leave me without any symptoms but it should definitely stop my symptoms progressing, reduce my pain and hopefully restore some feeling and strength to my legs.”
In November 2016, our sister newspaper the Lincolnshire Free Press launched the Ten for 10 Appeal to help Alice Bates achieve her ten dearest wishes as she approached her milestone 10th birthday.
Alice had suffered a stroke and brain haemorrhage at birth, battled quadriplegic cerebral palsy and coped with other health conditions like epileptic seizures.
The appeal saw the tight-knit Long Sutton community, and the wider community of South Holland, rallying to Alice’s cause and, in the last few weeks, generous donors have raised more than £6,000 so the youngster can have a special bath to ease her muscle pain.
Alice and Charlotte won many people’s hearts as they went out and about to thank generous donors who gave to our Ten for 10 Appeal.
They found a big welcome wherever they went, not least in the cafe at the Lincolnshire Co-op in Long Sutton.
Dreams of summer outings to the Co-op this year are keeping Charlotte focused on a positive outcome from her surgery.
She said: “The priority now is not getting any worse and, hopefully, Alice and I will be out walking again in the summer time.
“Every time I see anyone from the Co-op, they say ‘where have you been?’
“Alice has a lot of friends in the Co-op cafe but she calls them her fans.
“I can leave Alice at a table while I go off for a couple of minutes because a lot of our older community go in there and they sit talking to Alice while I am gone.
“I am missing these relationships.
“Hopefully we will be back in the summer and be back to normal again.”
Charlotte has her own milestone birthday – her 40th – on February 10 and is likely to be in hospital then.