Bristol

Weston-super-Mare boy's leg 'grows' by 31cm

Michael McKenzie and mother Ginette
Image caption Michael McKenzie's mother Ginette sold her home to raise funds for her son

A 12-year-old boy born with a short right leg plans to walk into school for the first time after surgeons "grew" his limb by 31cm.

To pay for his treatment Michael McKenzie's mother Ginette, 36, sold her home and launched an £80,000 appeal.

And after getting backing from the likes of Sir Paul McCartney, Michael, from Weston-super-Mare, hopes to walk into school by November.

Michael said: "I have to admit I never thought it would go this far."

'Twisted and bent'

When Michael was born his right leg was twisted, with no hip or knee joint, and the right foot only reached as far as the knee of his left leg.

"It looked like a Thalidomide limb, really, because it was quite twisted and bent," said Ms McKenzie.

"We were told that he would never be able to use it and we should just amputate.

"We went for second opinion after second opinion and visited every children's hospital in England and then further afield."

McCartney poem

The family found a surgeon in Baltimore, United States, who was willing to take on the surgery and Ms McKenzie launched the fundraising campaign.

Television host Graham Norton and girl band Atomic Kitten helped raise money, Manchester United Football Club also contributed and Sir Paul wrote a poem for auction.

Image caption Michael's leg has been surgically broken then stretched

In 2004 the family moved to Baltimore while Michael had a gruelling series of operations.

A brace was fitted to his leg and the bones were broken and then "stretched" into gaining extra length by a screw which is turned to extend the limb.

Michael still has further knee and hip operations to undergo at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, but for now the lengthening process is over.

He added: "I've been waiting for this for so long now and I'm just so overwhelmed.

"My mum has been great and she made all the decisions when I was too young to make them, so I'm really grateful for that."

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