A LITTLE girl is on her way to the United States for a ground-breaking operation to help her walk – thanks to the generosity of Wirral News readers and a charitable trust.
Mum Suzanne Byrne launched an appeal last October to raise £60,000 to pay for life-changing surgery for daughter Ariella.
The eight-year-old Heswall Primary pupil has Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy, which means her legs are unable to hold her weight.
The treatment which could help Ariella, Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy, involves cutting some of the sensory nerve fibres that come from the muscles and enter the spinal cord.
The operation is not available on the NHS and, with a deadline of April 19 for the money to be raised, it was feared Ariella could miss out and face a lifetime in a wheelchair or leg splints.
However, the people of Wirral took Ariella to their hearts and her family have won their race against time after a final fundraising push and a £35,000 donation from the Chester-based Morgan Foundation.
Suzanne, from Bebington, said: “We are so grateful. Words can’t describe the enormity of what we feel.
“I can’t believe what the Morgan Foundation have done for us and I’ll feel forever grateful to them.
“They, together with all the wonderful local people who have supported us, have made it possible for Ariella to go to America.
“I can’t believe people have been so kind.”
“Thank you to the Wirral News for supporting the appeal all the way through.”
Fundraising events will continue over the next few weeks to bring the total up to the final £60,000.
They include a pony trek on the Wirral Way and a charity concert at Port Sunlight Village Social Club on March 24. A coffee morning for Ariella is also taking place at the W.I. building in Thornton Hough on Friday, April 1, starting at 11am.
Businessman Steve Morgan, who founded the Morgan Foundation in 2001, said: “The Foundation was impressed by Ariella’s courage and by Suzanne’s tremendous commitment as well as the fantastic support they have received from local people and decided to make an exceptional grant of £35,000 to complete the fundraising.
“The operation will have a life changing impact for Ariella.”
The £60,000 will cover the cost of surgery and travel for Suzanne and Ariella to the St Louis Children’s Hospital in Missouri.