Girl who walks on tiptoes needs surgery to cure condition
A GIRL whose medical condition forces her to walk on tiptoes is hoping for an operation to help her take normal steps.
Abigail Bradley, 5, cannot walk or run like other children and often falls over.
The NHS provides physiotherapy to help improve – but not cure – the condition, and she wears splints on her legs to help her walk.
Now, her parents hope a technique developed in America will cure her for good.
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Dad Thomas Bradley said: "In herself, she's really bubbly and, despite everything, she's really, really happy, but we just want to get it sorted.
"It's like she is walking permanently with high heels on. Over the course of time, although this is nothing to do with the illness, it is giving her problems with her posture and her leg development.
"She's very unbalanced on her feet and prone to fall over a lot."
Abigail, who attends William Lilley School, in Stapleford, where she lives, was diagnosed with a form of cerebral palsy when she was two-and-a-half years old. It means her brain sends faulty messages to the muscles in her legs, causing the muscles to contract and making her involuntarily stand on her toes.
Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) treatment, developed at St Louis Children's Hospital, Missouri, involves identifying the problematic nerves with an electric pulse, then severing them.
It would cost £40,000 for Abigail to be treated there but the treatment has recently become available in Bristol for £22,000.
Cerebral palsy charity Scope says that because SDR is a very specialised and expensive procedure, it is rarely funded in the UK by the NHS.
Abigail's mum, Kate Hanstock, said: "The moment we found out about this operation, we wanted it so bad. It will be like a different life for her. It will be like a miracle for her. At Christmas, we asked her what she wanted and she said, 'I just want to be like all the other children, mummy.' She wants it so bad and she's only five."
To raise money for the treatment, Mr Bradley completed an 84-mile bike ride from Huddersfield to Chilwell on Saturday, accompanied by two University of Huddersfield students, who had heard about the campaign through a mutual friend. He expects to have raised about £1,100.
Long Eaton Rotary Club is also raising money for Abigail. Club president Janet Budden owns four nurseries and organised a five-mile sponsored walk to Wollaton Park yesterday. About 40 nursery staff, friends and members of Abigail's family took part and hope to have raised at least £400 through sponsorship.
ESP Cars is holding a black-tie ball at its showroom in Long Eaton on June 25, with proceeds to Abigail's fund.
One in 400 children are thought to be born with cerebral palsy, with spastic cerebral palsy the most common type.
Visit www.sendabbietoamerica.co.uk for more information on the appeal.