Young Burlington boy to undergo life-altering surgery in U.S.:Family has set up GoFundMe campaign

After Tyler Backus’ next surgery, his sixth, his parents hope their young son will be free of pain.

The eight-year-old, who suffers from spastic quadriplegia, a severe form of Cerebral Palsy, has had a litany of surgeries, spinal taps, MRIs, EEGs, a CT scan and an EKG, since his birth. In May, Tyler will once again head to the U.S. for selective percutaneous myofascial lengthening (SPML), a type of surgery done to relieve tension from muscle spasticity.

His initial SPML surgery, done four years ago by New Jersey orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Roy Nuzzo, was “very successful in eliminating the spasticity in his hamstrings, adductors and calves,” said mom Kelly McMahon.

“He no longer continuously woke up in the middle of the night due to pain and muscle spasms.”

“We never feel comfortable asking for money from family and friends and the community, but we feel like we don’t have a choice.” — mom Kelly McMahon

At the time, doctors weren’t able to perform the surgery on his upper extremities because his biceps were too small, said McMahon.

This time around, SPML surgery will also be performed in Tyler’s pectoralis and neck, and he’ll receive ethanol nerve blocks in both, as well as his biceps. Recovery time is minimal.

Currently, Tyler wears wrist and arm splints to stretch his arms, but the family hopes by eliminating the spasticity in his arms and the tightness in his pectoralis, his pain will disappear and his fine motor function will improve.

Canada offers no comparable surgery, and OHIP does not cover the cost of Tyler’s out of country surgery, said McMahon.

The family receives limited government funding for things such as respite camps, housekeeping and in-home respite, so they have started a GoFundMe campaign once again to help toward the cost of surgery.

“We never feel comfortable asking for money from family and friends and the community, but we feel like we don’t have a choice. When we see the success of the SPML and ethanol block surgery in his lower extremities in 2015, then of course we want to go back to N.J. to get his upper extremities done.”