Can you help Finlay to walk tall beside his brother?

FOUR-year-old Finlay Naylor yearns for the day he can play with his older brother Angus, 6, and go to kindy to do all the everyday things kids love to do.

But 12 months ago, Finlay was diagnosed with spastic diplegic cerebral palsy after his parents Dan, 33, and Margaret, 38, became concerned that he had not started walking.

"We took it really hard. We weren't prepared for the fact that it was permanent brain damage," Mr Naylor said.

"We thought everything was fine and normal until he started to miss a couple of milestones.''

The third diagnosis by a neurologist left both parents in shock as they had been holding out hope Finlay just had low muscle tone that could have been helped with physiotherapy.

Finding out a definitive diagnosis was tough for the parents, and once it began to slowly sink in they talked about the next stage.

"We did feel the relief but not immediately," Mr Naylor said. "I said to my wife at the start ... 'I don't care how we do it. I'll live in a caravan if I have to'.''

Margaret and Dan Naylor with their sons Finlay and Angus. Picture: Calum Robertson
Margaret and Dan Naylor with their sons Finlay and Angus. Picture: Calum Robertson

Hope became a driving force when the Sheidow Park couple viewed before and after surgery videos of children with a similar condition to Finlay on the Facebook page of US surgeon Dr TS Park.

Finlay has now been accepted by the St Louis Children's Hospital surgeon to have Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) surgery in September.

But travel costs and surgery, which cannot be performed in Australia, will be about $100,000.

So far, $51,000 has been raised through the Naylors' Facebook page - Finlay's Will to Walk.

"This is the best opportunity he has of living his best life,'' Mr Naylor said.

"Asking for help is not something that comes naturally to us and I think the people who have supported us know that and we are humbled by that.''

Finlay Naylor with big brother Angus at their Sheidow Park home. Picture: Calum Robertson
Finlay Naylor with big brother Angus at their Sheidow Park home. Picture: Calum Robertson

Mr Naylor describes Finlay as a vivacious, happy and intelligent youngster who becomes frustrated at not being able to do what his brain is telling his legs to do.

"His brain is always on and is always sending signals to his legs to try and work and fight against the spasticity,'' he said.

"Imagine with a brain injury like this, the scale is so different but with Finlay, you can tell he's really intelligent. He knows what's going on and can sense what's going on and he gets frustrated.''

 

Finlay Naylor with big brother Angus at their Sheidow Park home. Picture: Calum Robertson
Finlay Naylor with big brother Angus at their Sheidow Park home. Picture: Calum Robertson

 

Although continuous treatment will be needed afterwards, the family hope this life-changing surgery will give Finlay freedom of movement and the ability to improve his verbal skills.

"Finlay adores his bigger brother," Mr Naylor said.

"All he knows is he wants to play with his brother. It's one of the massive things that tears us up, the fact that his brother so much wants him to play with him on his level.

"The opportunity this surgery will give him is to relieve a lot of that spasticity - not only his walking but his communication skills, his balance and his ability to a lot of different things.''

www.gofundme.com/finlayswilltowalk



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