A Montrose gardener who has cerebral palsy will be the first adult in Scotland with the condition to have a hip replacement on the NHS.
After a two-year-long battle with the NHS to get the operation, Graham Henderson (46), who runs Graham’s Garden Care, has finally been given the green light.
Carrying out the procedure is extremely rare on people with cerebral palsy with only a few operations having been done in the world.
Graham will not only be the first adult in Scotland with the condition to have his hip replaced, he is possibly the first in the UK to get the surgery.
He said: “It is a relief to finally get the go ahead, not only for me but for my mum who has taken me all over the UK to see different doctors.”
Graham explained he has been experiencing pain in his right hip for around five or six years and was initially told by health professionals it was likely to be a symptom of his cerebral palsy.
The pain got worse and Graham sought several second opinions. After seeing a cerebral palsy expert he was told it is a ‘static’ condition by the age of 18 and is unlikely to progress and therefore, the pain was coming from elsewhere.
It was eventually diagnosed as an issue with his hip.
In October last year, Graham had an operation on his hip after a muscle adjacent to it snapped. Doctors repaired the muscle, but unfortunately, the hip joint has deteriorated and needs to be replaced.
Graham said it is thanks to his parents, Olive and Richard, that he never backed down and continued to batter on the door of health professionals.
“I think it is because of my parents that I have continued to push the boundaries.
“My mum told me never start at the bottom of the tree, start at top and work your way down.
“There is a lot more research going into cerebral palsy now, especially in adults, which is definitely needed,” he added.
Graham, who celebrated 25 years in business as a gardener last February, says the business will keep going before his operation and afterwards once he has recovered.
The operation is likely to go ahead in the Autumn at Woodend Hospital in Aberdeen.
After his surgery, Graham will receive physiotherapy on the NHS.
He is also planning on creating a room in his house into a hydrotherapy room, which will cost more than £10,000, to improve his aftercare.
Graham said: “The hydro-therapy will help me with the tightness that cerebral palsy causes, especially in the wintertime.
“It won’t just help me after the hip operation, it will help me for the rest of my life.”
He has been granted planning permission for the hydrotherapy room but for the provision of this facility it will require the assistance of the local community, as well as fund-raising from Graham, his family and friends.
Graham’s long-term friend Heather Fernand (49), who has been helping him on his journey and is co-ordinating the effort, said: “The community of Montrose, Angus and the Mearns have to support Graham and help him get this hydrotherapy room. It’s going to help him so much.
“We need volunteers, builders, tilers and anyone who feels they can help.”
Jewson in Montrose, where Heather works as assistant branch manager, will be helping with some of the building work of the hydrotherapy room.
She will also be putting Graham forward for the Jewson Building Better Communities fund, which will award funding between £1,000 and £50,000 to community projects that make a difference to the lives of local people.
If you feel you are able to offer your time or services please get in touch with Heather by e-mailing Heather.Fernand@jewson.co.uk
For more information search for Walk On Graham on Facebook or to donate visit www.justgiving.com/yimby/WalkonGraham.