Campaign to help little Skye Swinton walk
LITTLE Skye Swinton has a dream to walk unaided so she can keep up with her friends.
The three-year-old struggles to walk on her own and faces life in a wheelchair.
But the brave toddler, her family and the Echohave now launched the Skye's The Limit fundraising campaign to get her a £40,000 life-changing operation.
Skye, from Arle, weighed less than a bag of sugar when she was born prematurely at 27 weeks.
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She was diagnosed with spastic diplegic cerebral palsy and struggles to walk unaided.
She currently has a wheelchair to help her get about, but dreams of walking and running like other children without getting as tired and sore.
Her family are hoping she will be able to secure the funds to undergo pioneering surgery, which will help her move around more easily and with less pain.
Mum Ruth said the operation, which has proved successful in America, will reduce the spasticity in her leg muscles and prevent her needing major orthopaedic surgery when older.
Ruth, who is Skye's full-time carer, said: "It has been hard and it is heartbreaking to watch your child go through it.
"She did not start walking until she was two and all her friends are running around and she has been crawling after them, trying to keep up.
"She does get frustrated and it is difficult seeing her wobbling and falling over.
"But she just does not let it get her down and she is a determined little girl.
"It would just be fantastic for her to be able to keep up with her friends and be able to run, dance and jump with them."
The family's doctor is putting in a bid for the operation to be paid for by the NHS.
But Ruth said she is doubtful it will come to fruition as others have had the pioneering surgery turned down due to the lack of long-term evidence associated with the operation in the UK.
The family believe it will cost around £800 for the initial assessment and possible MRI scans and spinal X-rays, £23,500 for the operation itself and around £15,000 for around two years of physiotherapy afterwards.
They are in the process of organising charity events, from a silent auction to casino nights, to help raise funds.
The 38-year-old mum said: "We know it is a lot of money and it is going to be very hard work. But we would not start the fundraising campaign if we did not think we could make it.
"Skye is quite happy with what she can do, but you do see her watching the other children. We've explained to her that the operation could help her run faster in the future and she's really happy about that."
Since Skye's diagnosis in June 2011, she has been constantly in and out of hospital in Bristol.
Skye, who goes to Christ Church Playgroup, has undergone Botox injections and had extensive physiotherapy.
HOW TO DONATE:
TEXT: Text SKYE55 followed by £1, £2, £3, £4, £5, or £10 to 70070. The text will only cost the amount of your donation and the fund will receive 100% of the donated amount.
BY CHEQUE: Tree of Hope Children's Charity, 48 Fiador Court, 6 Midway Quay, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN23 5DG. Please write "Skye Swinton" on the back
The operation called Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy will reduce the spasticity in Skye’s leg muscles, help her move around easier and prevent her needing major orthopaedic surgery when she is older.
The vertebrae in the lower back are opened to reveal the end of the spinal cord and abnormal nerve roots, which are causing the spasticity, are partially cut.
Surgery of several hours could be followed with 48 hours in intensive care and up to four weeks in hospital, followed by intensive physiotherapy.
The operation has been done with huge success in America for more than 20 years, but only in Bristol since last year.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, have not approved the medical procedure in the United Kingdom. This is because of the lack of long-term evidence about its outcome.