Michael gets a new knee and hip - plus a ‘free’ ankle

PUBLISHED: 09:09 11 May 2012

Michael McKenzie with mum Ginette and brother Jevan.

Michael McKenzie with mum Ginette and brother Jevan.


A COURAGEOUS Weston schoolboy is this week beginning a lengthy recuperation after life-changing surgery to help him walk for the first time.

Mercury readers have been captivated by brave Michael McKenzie over the past 18 months, as we have followed his amazing story.

After being born with one leg substantially shorted than the other, Michael has spent all of his 13 years enduring a gruelling and painful series of operations to extend the limb by a record-breaking 31 centimetres.

The process saw mum Ginette sell the family home to pay for treatment, and celebrities including Paul McCartney and Graham Norton back an £80,000 fundraising drive.

Now Priory Community School pupil Michael is in Florida recovering after the final part of the process – a last operation to give him joints at hip and knee.

The surgery was made possible by a huge grant towards its $110,000 cost by Weston’s Axentis Michael Charitable Trust, set up in memory of the father of Grand Pier owners Kerry and Michelle Michael.

Kerry selected the youngster for the grant after he was overwhelmingly nominated by Mercury readers in our campaign last year.

World renowned surgeon Dr Dror Paley carried out the 14-hour operation earlier this week, and Ginette says all went well – although there is now a long recovery period before Michael can return to his home in Weston’s Milburn Road.

Speaking from his bedside in the United States, Ginette said: “We took Michael in 8am for surgery, and he didn’t get to recovery until 10.30pm. I didn’t get to be with him until midnight and we got back on the ward at 2am – exhausting.

“Michael is on a machine called a CPM machine and has to stay on for four hours at a time, take an hour off and then back on for another hours. For most of the next six weeks this bends his leg for him at the hip and knee until he can do it himself.

“It is like a miracle; he has 90 degrees motion at both the hip and knee when the machine moves. I have never seen Michael’s leg bend, it is truly amazing. Dr Paley even did another surgery for free - at the same time as the hip and knee he has reconstructed Michael’s ankle.

“Michael is in quite a bit of pain. He is hooked up to an epidural and is being very, very sick but he is still smiling as he thinks of all the things he will be able to do and he sends his love back home.”

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