THE family of six-year-old twin Rowan Donlan are campaigning to send him for the treatment which will help him to keep up with his friends in the playground.

Rowan was diagnosed with cerebral palsy aged 18 months, after parents Helen and Robert flagged up that he wasn't reaching the same milestones as his sister.

The condition causes Rowan, from Newton-le-Willows, to have tight muscle tone, which causes pain and a lack of range of movement and difficulty with balance.

Helen, 32, who is a teacher, says as Rowan grows, his muscles will become tighter, making walking even more difficult.

She said: "Our amazing little boy, Rowan Jasper John Donlan, was born in June 2011, 11 weeks earlier than planned. This premature arrival resulted in Rowan developing cerebral palsy.

"He is a chatty, charming, typical six-year-old boy – he loves Star Wars, baseball, superheroes and playing computer games with his twin sister and big brother.

"He absolutely loves life and is always smiling...but life with cerebral palsy is hard."

She said he currently uses a walker for stability and safety in the school playground and has a wheelchair for longer distances. "He also wears leg braces," she added, "but despite these, his muscles are already so tight he is unable to walk with his heels down.

"This in turn affects his balance and he finds most physical tasks very difficult."

Helen and husband Robert, 32, also have son Thomas, 14, and Rowan's twin Willow.

She told the Star that neurosurgeons at Alder Hey say Rowan is an ideal candidate for a procedure, which targets nerves in the spinal column which contribute to the condition – but the operation is not available on the NHS.

She said: "This will make his legs less stiff and allow him to use them more easily."

She added: "He works hard at school and does daily physio to keep as much movement as he can for as long as he can. He would love to be able to keep up with his twin sister and their friends in the playground.

"This operation is Rowan's best chance at ever being able to walk independently."

The family need to raise £21,000 for the "life-changing" operation, and more still for the ongoing intensive physiotherapy that Rowan would need for several years afterwards.

They have reached £15,000 of their £30,000 target and are now asking the public to help them raise the rest.

To donate to their fundraising campaign 'Help Rowan Run', through registered charity Tree of Hope, go to