A Brighton family is racing against time to raise funds for specialised surgery in Israel which offers the only alternative to amputation for their six-year-old daughter.
Kyra Warrell is suffering from a condition called proximal focal femoral deficiency which will leave her left leg more than 20cm shorter than her right if left untreated.
NHS doctors say the best option is an above-the knee-amputation to allow a prosthetic limb to be fitted.
But Kyra's parents, Rima and Neil, have rejected amputation and want their daughter to undergo specialised leg-lengthening surgery offered by Dr Dror Paley, a world expert in treating the condition, at the Rambam Hospital in Haifa. Dr Paley believes the surgery can give Kyra a full range of motion by the time she reaches 16.
Mrs Warrel said the procedure was Kyra's best hope of keeping her leg. "We want to do what we feel is best for Kyra, and in our minds there really is no alternative to the surgery abroad."
Mr and Mrs Warrell, who are not Jewish, have launched a crowdfunding appeal to raise the £58,000 needed to pay for the operation.
The money must be raised by February 1 - Dr Paley normally works in the United States but will be in Israel for an international orthopaedic conference then and has agreed to carry out the procedure. Mrs Warrell, an events manager, explained that taking Kyra to the US was not an option as it would be too expensive.
She said: “Kyra’s NHS surgeon, who is based in Bristol, has studied with Dr. Paley, but he does not have the specialist knowledge to perform the operation himself. However, he is supportive of Kyra going to Israel and is collaborating with the doctor at the Rambam into whose care she would be discharged."
The initial operation would prepare Kyra’s deformed hip for the leg-lenthening surgery in 2019 and again in 2022.
"We don't want to put her through a lifetime of pain, but that is what she already faces wearing an above the knee prosthetic, so we want to give her every chance of avoiding that," said Mrs Warrell.
Kyra parents say they plan to sell their home to fund the £90,000 cost of the second operation.
Mrs Warrell said: “There was not enough time between hearing on November 16 of Dr Paley’s availability to operate in Israel on February 1 to be able to sell our house to fund the preparatory op, so we launched a crowdfunding appeal. We will lose valuable months if the surgery, which will also treat Kyra’s ankle, is delayed, as she needs time to heal before the first leg-lengthening operation.”
Kyra enjoys ballet and gymnastic which she does using a prosthetic attachment which forces her foot to point down. She said: “I don’t like it because it rubs my ankle, and I’d like to be able to put two feet flat on the ground like my friends.”
The appeal has so far raised just over £20,000 towards its target. More information at https://chuffed.org/project/step-by-step-with-kyra-the-first-hurdle