Heartwarming moment Bolton boy in crippling pain takes first steps thanks to pioneering treatment

Dillon Wilford’s mum raised £18,000 to get access to the specialist treatment in the USA - and he was pain-free for the first time in months.

A young boy from Bolton with a crippling condition has taken his first steps in almost a year after travelling to the US for pioneering treatment.

Brave Dillon Wilford, 11, was in so much pain from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) that he even begged his mum Melanie to let him have his leg amputated.

But after his mum spent £18,000 to travel to the States for specialised treatment not available in the UK, Dillon was pain free for the first time in months.

Doctors in Houston, Texas, treated Dillon with a VECTTOR machine, which delivers a form of electro-stimulation to nerves to reduce pain.

Dillon Wilford with mum Melanie Wilford Credit: Melanie Wilford / SWNS

And his ecstatic mum Melanie, 43, shared the heartwarming moment Dillon walked for the first time in almost a year with a video call to his sister Maddie, 24, back home.


Melanie said: “It has taken his pain down to being a zero the majority of the time, being from an eight or a nine in pain, which is just crazy.

“Honestly it’s just unbelievable, absolutely unbelievable, and all of that was in the space of a couple of days.

“The first night in the states, he said it was the comfiest nights sleep he has ever had.

“He was laid on his side which he couldn’t do, he had long pyjamas on which he couldn’t do and he had the covers over him, which he couldn’t do.

“He was just so comfy, and it just makes such a difference - it’s just amazing.”

Dillon Wilford in hospital Credit: Melanie Wilford / SWNS


What is CPRS?

Dillon first started showing symptoms back in November 2021 when he woke up with a limp and by the day he was left in debilitating pain.

He was diagnosed with CPRS in January after months of trying to find a cause for his agonising pain left medical professionals stumped.

The condition is poorly understood and is also so agonising that even the slightest touch to the affected area can cause severe pain.

But now, after having treatment in Houston, Texas, Dillon can now walk again and his pain level has gone down from a nine to a zero out of ten.

The therapy involved Dillon being treated by a VECTTOR machine, which targets nerves and reduces the pain.


After just three days of treatment, he was able to wear socks for the first time in a year and on day four of treatment, he was able to wear shoes for the first time.

Melanie added: “He’s used the machine, and now he’s smiling.

“He’s not smiled like this for months and months.”

Dillon Wilford Credit: Melanie Wilford / SWNS

Dillon and his family originally wanted to raise £100,000 to send him to America for a 16-week treatment course which included light therapy and oxygen treatment.

But, they then came across a VECTTOR machine, which delivers a form of electro-stimulation to nerves to reduce pain, and decided to go for that option instead.


Instead the total of the trip, including business class flights and a hotel, came to just £18, 000.

Dillon has also been allowed to take the £5,000 machine home with him, which means he will be able to manage his pain now he’s back home in Bolton.

He has now also started secondary school, which Melanie described as ‘amazing’ as he was not able to go to school for almost a year due to the pain he was in.

The single mum-of-four added: “I didn’t even buy the uniform, because I honestly didn’t believe that he would be going to school on the first day.

“We got back on the Monday, and I was having to run around on the Tuesday trying to buy uniform before he went back on the Wednesday.

“I didn’t want to hope that he would be going back just incase he wasn’t, but he is loving it.”


Melanie, a student nurse, now wants to help raise awareness for other families who are going through this and let them know that there is other options.

She said: “As a parent, you go through this horrendous and traumatic event that kind of takes your child’s life away from them and you will do anything to put that right.

“I’m speaking to so many other parents who are going through the same thing and their children are losing their childhoods and they want a little bit of hope.”

“We are just trying to somehow get the machine over here because I think it’s important and the NHS just aren’t very open to things, because it’s all about money I suppose.

“This is a holistic way of keeping a child healthy, this is a way of getting Dillon off the massive amount of drugs that he was on, which is more than most adults have.


“That’s far healthier and cheaper for the NHS as well.

“It’s crazy, I just don’t understand the logic of not even looking into something like this.”