Family appeals for operation for Amelia


A fundraising campaign has been launched to help a little girl fulfil her dream. Amelia Craig wants to be a ballerina but simply walking or running is too painful for her.

Amelia, who is three-and-a-half and lives in Brighton, suffers from spastic diplegia cerebral palsy. The muscles in her legs are permanently contracted, which means she cannot put her feet flat on the ground and can walk only very short distances.

She has been approved for a life-changing operation at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, which is due to be carried out at the end of February 2017, but is currently not funded by the NHS.

Her parents, William, 36, an employment consultant, and Alana, 29, are seeking to raise £85,000 for the operation and aftercare.

"Amelia is a very happy young lady. We are hopeful that we will be able to raise the full amount so she does not end up in a wheelchair as her condition progresses," said Mr Craig, whose family have a long-rooted connection to the Brighton Jewish community and who is a Community Security Trust volunteer.

Mrs Craig has given up work as a marketing manager to be with her daughter, who has to be constantly supervised as she falls over dozens of times a day and is unable to stand again unaided.

Amelia was born 10 weeks prematurely and was diagnosed with the condition at 18 months. "It's been an emotional rollercoaster, but we are doing the best we can as a family," said Mr Craig.

The selective dorsal rhizotomy operation will see 75 per cent of the nerves in Amelia's spinal cord cut, which will reduce the stiffness in her legs. Two years of physiotherapy are then needed so she can learn to walk again.

Together with friends, the Craigs have raised close to 40 per cent of the required amount. A boost came when a charitable foundation, which wishes to remain anonymous, donated £27,000.

"With the operation Amelia will relearn to walk, run and jump and be able to play with her friends," said Mr Craig. "But her greatest wish is to dance."

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