A campaign has been launched to raise £45,000 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 10 weeks premature – six weeks after his mum Lynda’s waters had broken.

In addition to being premature, the lack of water meant 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 of hours and the doctors tried to prepare us for the worst,” said Lynda. “But then by the third day, he was breathing by himself.”

Evan was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 14 months.

Lynda said the condition only affected him physically and he had just as much humour and wit as his sister Maya, seven, and brother Sam, three.

“He’s quite mature for his age,” said Lynda. “He shocks people with his level of conversation.”

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

Lynda said there was too much muscle tone in Evan’s legs and the spastic diplegia caused stiffness in his muscles.

Treatment for his 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 learned he had been accepted to have Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy 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.

Lynda and Andrew, who both work at Skipton Building Society, are aiming to raise £45,000 to cover all the costs, and so far have £6,000.

“The amount of support we’ve had has been fantastic,” said Lynda. “The people of Silsden, Skipton Building Society, family and friends have been very generous.”

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

Among their plans are a charity ball, a race night, a band night, coffee mornings and even a “discreet and cheerful” Silsden Calendar Girls calendar.

To find out more or make a donation email andrew.whitton@gmail.com or visit evansbigjourney.co.uk.