A campaign has been launched to raise more than £40,000 for a Silsden boy who needs an operation that will allow him to walk.

Six-year-old Evan Whitton, of The Kingfishers, suffers from spastic diplegia cerebral palsy and his family is trying to raise £45,000 so he can have an operation in America.

Evan was born ten weeks premature, six weeks after his mum Lynda’s waters had broken. In addition to being premature, the lack of water also meant that Evan’s lungs had not developed properly and the first 24 hours after his birth were traumatic as the doctors at St James’s Hospital, in Leeds, did not expect him to survive.

“They had to put him on an oscillator ventilator in the first couple hours and the doctors tried to prepare us for the worst,” said Lynda. “But then by the third day, he was breathing by himself.”

However, he was then diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 14 months. Lynda said that the condition only affected him physically and young Evan had just as much humour and wit as his sister, Maya, seven, and brother Sam, three.

Evan, a pupil at Aire View Infant School, in Silsden, now gets around using a walking frame or a wheelchair for longer distances.

Treatment for Evan’s condition is not available on the NHS, so Lynda and his dad, Andrew, sent off surgery application forms, along with DVDs containing MRI scans, X-rays and videos to St Louis Children’s Hospital, in Missouri.

In July, Evan and his family were delighted when they received correspondence to say he had been accepted for treatment.

The invasive surgery involves cutting some of the sensory nerve fibres that come from the muscles and enter the spinal cord. Doctors anticipate the procedure will allow Evan to walk.

However, the treatment, physio and at least one month’s hotel stay for the family is expensive.

Lynda and Andrew, who both work at Skipton Building Society, are aiming to raise £45,000 to cover all the costs. And so far, the family has made a good start, raising about £6,000.

But the couple have organised several more events in the coming months to help pay for Evan’s operation, which they hope will be carried out by April 2011.

Anyone interested in finding out more about the events and making a donation to fund Evan’s operation should email andrew.whitton@gmail.com or visit evansbigjourney.co.uk.