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St. John's child requires expensive surgery

Tracy Gale (left) laughs with her son, Henry, 4, and her mother, Joselyn Banke. The trio, with the help of family and friends, have launched a pair of fundraising ventures to get Henry to a clinic in New Jersey where he can obtain selective percutaneous myofascial lengthening, a procedure that will cost more than US$17,000.
Tracy Gale (left) laughs with her son, Henry, 4, and her mother, Joselyn Banke. The trio, with the help of family and friends, have launched a pair of fundraising ventures to get Henry to a clinic in New Jersey where he can obtain selective percutaneous myofascial lengthening, a procedure that will cost more than US$17,000. - Sam McNeish

Henry Gale must travel to New Jersey to get procedure to relieve symptoms of spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

Just seeing the smile on Henry Clowe's face when he is asked to say cheese for a photo is enough to make anyone say, “What can I do to help?”

Tracy Gale’s child, Henry, 4, was born with spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy. This means his muscles are always tight and spastic — also known as high tone — causing his legs to cross over each other, referred to in medical circles as scissoring.

Because of the scissoring, he is at high risk for hip joint damage. His hips are not forming into the sockets properly and can easily pop out.

“Henry doesn’t qualify for any surgeries in Canada, so we had to look outside of the country for help,’’ Gale said this week.

“We found there is a surgery offered at a clinic in Summit, N.J., called selective percutaneous myofascial lengthening (SPML) that uses a needle to make tiny hatch marks into the myofascial area to release tension and lowers tone in that area.’’

It is an outpatient, non-invasive procedure with little recovery time.

Gale said the doctor has been doing this procedure for 25 years and the majority of the surgeries have gone well. The results last anywhere from a year, several years or longer, and can be redone if the symptoms resume.

“It could benefit Henry greatly by lowering his tone, relaxing his legs and giving his body a chance to form properly." — Tracy Gale

She found out about the clinic through a social media site she is a member in dealing with parents and groups at the Shriner’s Hospital in Montreal.

Gale asked the question if anyone knew where she could go to get help for Henry, and this clinic was the recommendation she received.

“I am optimistic this procedure will be good for Henry,’’ she said.

Henry, who was born in Alberta, was first diagnosed with an issue when he was three months old. Like many mothers, Gale was upset, but knew she needed to do something, so she came back to Newfoundland and Labrador when Henry was eight months old.

She was first alerted to some issues when he failed to meet his milestones and, in addition, he started to have what was diagnosed as infantile spasms. He was given anti-spasm medications for the next six months until the spasms went away. But from there he developed epilepsy, and was prescribed drugs to combat those seizures.

All of those afflictions aside, Gale knows the procedure available at the New Jersey clinic is the best option for Henry, and she and her family have started a number of fundraising endeavours to help make it happen.

To date, they have raised nearly $1,000 from friends and family through Facebook, and another $250 via email.

“It could benefit Henry greatly by lowering his tone, relaxing his legs and giving his body a chance to form properly,’’ Gale said.

“Of course, this comes with a high price tag of $17,000 US, plus travel. I would really love to get this for my son, but right now I am not financially able to do it.’’

The benefits will be many once this is completed, as Henry will be able to walk flat-footed and use his walker to get around. In addition, it will allow his hips to grow into their sockets properly, as the muscle tone will be reduced to the point where the scissoring will stop.


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Email donations can be sent to henrysfundraiser@outlook.com

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