A BRAVE Rowley Regis boy is hoping to take his first steps unaided with the help of a life-changing operation.

James Downing's family are trying to raise £40,000 for the operation which is unavailable on the NHS.

The six-year-old suffers from cerebral palsy and was born 11 weeks early which led to him having a bleed on the brain.

His mother Cheryl Hughes said: "Doctors told us he would be delayed in his development due to this prematurity.

"As the first year past in James’s life we noticed he wasn’t meeting his milestones and was unable to sit up by himself and there were no signs of crawling. "At 18 months he wasn’t showing any signs of standing or crawling so we had an MRI scan from which the doctors diagnosed spastic diaplegia cerebral palsy.

"This means the muscles in his legs are so tight making it hard for him to put his feet flat on the floor to allow him to walk."

Due to recent medical breakthroughs there is hope for James.

Miss Hughes said: "The operation available to my son called selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) is currently unavailable on the NHS.

"This operation will give our son James a better quality of life in the future as SDR is a neurosurgical procedure to reduce spasticity (tight and stiff muscle tone) in his lower limbs."

She added: "This will give him improved function and mobility thus increasing his independence."

The family are planning a series of fundraising activities and to donate visit www.just4children.org/children-helped-2016/jamess-dream.