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Fundraising effort for Amelie's fight to walk takes giant leap forward

Amelie Braide with mum and dad Sarah and Tom, and little brother Alexander

THE family of a three year-old girl have taken a huge step towards helping her walk unaided after their fundraising effort reached its £35,000 target.

Brave Amelie Braide is set to undergo life changing surgery thanks to the help of the local community who rallied round after hearing of her plight.

From cake bakes to a tug of war people across Marple have pulled together to make sure the little girl with cerebral palsy will get all the help she needs.

And her delighted parents have spoken of their gratitude to all those who helped raise the tens of thousands in record time.

Amelie, who was born six weeks premature, lives in Marple with her mum Sarah, dad Tom and one-year-old brother Alexander.

She spent 11 days on a neonatal unit at Stepping Hill Hospital, but it wasn't until she was eight months old that her parents started to notice things weren’t quite right. 

Their world came crashing down when their beautiful daughter was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at just 18 months old.

Her condition causes Amelie to have spasticity in her lower limbs, which affects every aspect of life. She can walk short distances with a frame, but tires quickly.

Last year specialists told her parents that an operation known as Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) was the only permanent treatment to combat the condition.

The procedure can help cerebral palsy sufferers with severe muscle spasticity improve their walking, but it is not funded by the NHS.

So with the help of the children’s charity Tree of Hope, Amelie’s family set out to raise the cash they believe will change Amelie's life.

Doctors at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool told them they would need £21,000 for the surgery and a further £14,000 for the therapy needed in the crucial two-year period after the operation.

Mum Sarah, told the Marple Review that despite Amelie being born prematurely, it is not clear what caused the damage to her brain.

Amelie Braide

“I gave birth naturally, and at first we were sent home with a clean bill of health,” she said. 

“It was when she got to eight or nine months and wasn’t hitting her developmental targets that alarm bells started to ring.”

Following the devastating diagnosis the family have done everything to allow Amelie to live as near normal a life as possible. But the condition has had a terrible effect on the toddler.

"It just makes doing day to day activities hard for her," said Sarah.

"Over time it can lead to permanent deformity as it means the bones and joints can’t develop properly. She has lots of physio but that will never be enough to correct it."

Sarah, 31, said the surgeon recommended Amelie undergo the procedure by the end of the year, which left them facing a race against time to raise the money.

Amelie's mum said the family’s fundraising efforts owe so much to the amazing support they had received from local people.

In July the community group Marple Matters held a bake sale to raise money for Amelie’s operation which raised a fabulous £230.

A week later Team Amelie was the nominated charity for the Marple Social and Forces Club’s Tug of War event, that brought in more than £700.

Among other fundraising efforts were a raffle held by Hazel Grove Conservatives which raised £300.while Marple Lions donated £250, along with £50 from the Marple Carnival, £30 by 1st Carver Cubs and £250 from Marple Beer Run.

"Thanks to the fantastic effort of our friends and family, as well as many kind-hearted strangers, we have now raised enough money for Amelie to have SDR," said Sarah.

"The operation has been paid for and booked for 20 October and most of the additional money will be used for additional therapy and equipment in the two years following."

Dad Tom added: "Sarah was asked by Tree of Hope how we've done so well so they can tell others. 

"We have awesome friends and family who are ridiculously generous and proactive. We're lucky to know them all. I hope they know how fantastic they are."

Despite reaching their target the fundraising goes on. On September 8th and 9th, an evening is being held for Amelie at Marple Cricket Club.

There will be live music from Monkey Harris and free snacks, including bhajis by Gulshan. A raffle night is also being planned with prizes from local businesses in the area.

Sarah said: "Any extra money will go towards additional therapy and also home adaptations that could make Amelie's life a little easier over the next few years. 

"We didn't dare to dream of getting enough money for this sort of thing."

"Please be assured that Amelie will still benefit massively and continue to do so for years to come."

If you would like to donate to help fund Amelie’s vital post-operation therapy, visit the Tree of Hope at www.treeofhope.org.uk/teamamelieb.

You can also buy tickets for the fundraising event in September at Marple Cricket Club for £15 per person and stay up-to-date with Team Amelie and little Amelie’s progress on the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/teamemelieb

The Marple Review would like to send Amelie, Sarah and Tom and Alexander Braide and everyone involved in Team Amelie our very best wishes.