Family put faith in music for youngster Gabriel to walk

thisisoxfordshire: Gabriel Masih-Gill, pictured with mum, Paula hopes an operation will help him walk            Picture: OX67402 Marc West Buy this photo Gabriel Masih-Gill, pictured with mum, Paula hopes an operation will help him walk Picture: OX67402 Marc West

A CHRISTIAN rock concert will bring one teenager a step closer to being able to walk.

Gabriel Masih-Gill, 14, has cerebral palsy and relies on a wheelchair.

His family is trying to raise enough money for a life-changing operation that will help him walk unaided for the first time.

They have to raise £58,000 in total for the selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) operation at a hospital in Missouri, in the United States.

Since his story was first featured in the Oxford Mail in September last year, they have raised more than £12,000.

Mum Paula, 39, from Headington, said: “So many people have come up to us and donated, saying they’d seen it in the Oxford Mail.

“We can’t believe how many kind people there are in the world.”

One of them was Sue Porter, from Abingdon, who has arranged for Christian rock singer Nicki Rogers to perform next month.

She said: “I saw his story in the Oxford Mail last October.

“It really touched my heart, and I thought I’d like to get involved and raise some money.”

Ms Porter, 66, said: “He looked like a really lovely and plucky little lad. I really felt for him. It’s nice to be able to do something for him.”

Mrs Masih-Gill, who lives with Gabriel, her husband Samuel, 44, and Gabriel's four-year-old brother Lucien, is working with the Tree of Hope charity to raise the cash.

She said: “I’d like at least 50 people to come but at our last events hundreds have showed up.

Gabriel, a pupil at Ormerod Resource base at Marlborough School, Woodstock, has previously had major surgery on his hips and knees at Oxford Children’s Hospital.

The SDR operation will help him to walk properly for the first time.

Mrs Masih-Gill said: “They will take a piece of bone out to get to his spinal cord.

“We were going later on this year, but then Gabriel broke his leg and we found out he’s got severe osteopenia, which means weak bones.”

Gabriel said: “It would change my life if I did it. It’s really special to have so many people give money for me.”

The concert is on Saturday, June 21, at 7.30pm at Manor Preparatory School,  Faringdon  Road, Abingdon. Tickets cost £8. For more information email andyandsuep@aol.com.

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