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Saturday, 01 November 2014

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Cumbrian girl to get vital operation to help her walk

The family of Isabelle Pears were today celebrating after being told she can have a vital operation to help her walk.

Isabelle Pears photo
Isabelle Pears

The News & Star recently revealed how the five-year-old was just one step away from being chosen as one of 120 youngsters in the country to undergo the NHS-funded surgery as part of its evaluation programme.

And overwhelmed parents, Nicola and Lee, have now received welcome news that the final hurdle has been cleared as Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) have agreed to pay for her aftercare.

Isabelle, from Newlands Lane in Workington, suffers from a form of cerebral palsy called spastic diplegia, which leaves her with a tightness in her legs and her parents fear she will soon end up in a wheelchair.

Her story pulled on the heartstrings of many when her desperate parents made an emotional appeal through the News & Star last month, asking for the public’s help to fund the specialist operation. Her parents launched the £25,000 campaign – Isabelle’s Dream – as at the time there was no other option but to pay for surgery themselves.

However, in an NHS U-turn it was announced earlier this month that there would be trials of the Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) operation.

So far Isabelle’s Dream has raised nearly £10,000 which will be used to fund her aftercare, such as any equipment she will need as well as additional physiotherapy and strengthening sessions, which are extremely important.

“We are over the moon,” said Nicola. “It will be a long, hard road for Isabelle however after seeing and speaking to many parents whose child has benefited from this operation, and the fantastic results it can have for children like Isabelle, we know we are making the right decision for her – the more work we put in the better the results for her.

“Isabelle is very excited to start this journey, something we wouldn’t do unless we thought she was prepared for it and with a lot of hard work along the way she will finally be able to get a lovely pair of sparkly shoes or wear a pair of wellies and jump in the puddles and face life a lot more independently.”

Nicola added that she wanted to thank everyone who had played a part in Isabelle’s journey so far.

“The fact that people have come together to help one of their own is simply amazing and we cannot express our gratitude enough and be safe in the knowledge that they are helping a little girl fulfil her potential and not allow this spasticity to take hold her body as she grows.”

NHS England says the Commissioning through Evaluation programme aims to gather evidence on the SDR procedure – introduced in America – which involves opening up the bones of the spine in the lower back to operate on the nerves, which could potentially help relieve spasticity.

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