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THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE

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1040 Abroad

Family Overcome Travel Restrictions to fly to USA

Four-year-old boy from UK has overcome Covid travel restrictions to fly out to America with his family for a life changing operation.
By News Team
Published on March 4, 2021

Walton family Ben and Sam Walton with four-year-old Chester fly to the States ahead of life-changing surgery

A four-year-old boy from Dorset has overcome Covid travel restrictions to fly out to America with his family for a life changing operation.

Chester Walton suffers from quadriplegic cerebral palsy, a developmental disorder which means this motor functions are severely impaired, restricting him to a wheelchair.

Chester’s parents Ben and Sam set up the Cheers4Chester charity to raise £100,000 to send Chester to St Louis, USA, for a selective dorsal rhizotomy.

He did not qualify for the procedure under the NHS.

Despite travel from the UK to the US being banned, the Verwood family were granted a National Interest Exemption from the US embassy to travel to the States two weeks before Chester’s operation on March 2.

Chester’s dad Ben said: “The last couple of months have been a real challenge just to get this far. Obviously Covid has had a big impact on that.

“Firstly, Trump banned all travel from the UK last year to the US. This meant that anyone who comes over, rather than just getting a traditional ESTA, now has to have that as well as a National Interest Exemption.

“And then we had to get the Covid-19 tests within 72 hours of flying. That brings around fun and games because, if your flight is delayed and it falls outside of period of time when you plan to travel, you’ll have to take new ones.”

The surgery aims to reduce the extreme tightness of Chester’s muscles, or spasticity, allowing him to have more freedom of movement with the future ambition to stand and walk unaided.

The earlier the surgery is completed the more impact it will have and thus time is of the essence.

To read the full story click here.

To donate to the Cheers4Chester charity click here.

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