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Thursday, 23 October 2014

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Fund to help Cumbrian girl walk reaches £7,000

Nearly £7,000 has been raised to help a little girl walk following an appeal in the News & Star.

Nicola Pears photo
Nicola Pears with daughter Isabelle and son Cain

In an emotional interview, Nicola Pears told how her five-year-old daughter Isabelle desperately needed an operation to help straighten and strengthen her legs.

The NHS does not currently fund the life-changing procedure, so the Pears’ family decided to raise the money themselves.

And in just five days, Isabelle’s Dream has reached £6,809 with many more people offering to help with future donations.

Isabelle’s overwhelmed mum, from Newlands Lane in Workington, said she could not thank the community enough for their help.

“It’s amazing really how one community pulls together for one of its own,” she said. “So many donations have been coming in thick and fast, from lots from people we have never met, so it restores your faith in humanity.”

People have already pledged to run marathons, climb mountains and host charity nights to bring in money and Nicola said her phone hasn’t stopped ringing from strangers who want to chat about her inspirational daughter.

“We are flabbergasted,” she added. “Those little elderly people that knock on the door to donate what they haven’t got really touches me.

“To think that people are going out of their way to help her is phenomenal and I can’t express our gratitude enough.

“Isabelle, of course, is revelling in the limelight.”

Isabelle, a pupil at St Gregory’s primary school, suffers from spastic diplegia, a form of cerebral palsy, which results in her having extreme tightness in her legs and walking on her toes with a swing in her step.

The youngster, who wears splints throughout the day and leg gaits at night, has been through painful rounds of botox, extreme physiotherapy and has her legs in plaster casts for weeks at a time. But this has had little effect and her family fear she could end up in a wheelchair.

Isabelle can have a life-changing operation at Leeds General Hospital, which would cut the spinal nerves causing the spasticity to relax the tightness, but it is not routinely funded by the NHS.

An evaluation programme is currently underway to determine whether the procedure could be routinely funded in the future, but may take up to two years to complete and her family say they can’t wait that long.

The selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) operation is only offered in a select number of English hospitals following its success in America. Before February, people were able to apply to their local primary care trust for a funding grant, although they were not always successful. But five months ago the potential funding stopped when NHS England began an evaluation programme to determine whether the procedure could be routinely funded.

Donate at www.treeofhope.org.uk/isabelles-dream or call Nicola on 07851494625

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