THE family of a little St Helens girl are appealing for help so they can send her to America for a ground-breaking operation to help her walk for the very first time.
Andrzej and Monika Petersburska say it would be “a dream” to send their beloved four-year-old daughter, Susanna, to the US for pioneering muscle-boosting Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy treatment.
But, for that dream to become a reality, they must first raise £60,000 to help pay not only for the operation, but for up to two years of after care.
Susanna was born with Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy and can currently only get around with the use of a standing frame or in a buggy as her legs aren’t strong enough to hold her weight.
Mum Monika said: “Susanna is a very happy little girl and never complains but I can see she gets frustrated when she can’t do the things that her sister Maja (7) and her friends can do.
“It’s heart-wrenching to consider the prospect of operation after operation and endless stays in hospital for my beautiful little girl.
“But when I read about this treatment and discovered how successful it had been for other children, I knew it would save Susanna lots of pain and discomfort and made an appointment to ask our specialist about it straight away.”
Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy treatment involves cutting some of the sensory nerve fibres that link muscles to the spinal cord.
The complex procedure reduces muscle tension and makes it easier for patients to increase strength via a combination of therapy and exercise.
As of May, only one UK surgeon is performing the operation – at a rate of one patient per month – but the Centre for Cerebral Palsy Spasticity in St Louis, Missouri, treats children like Susanna every day.
Monika and Andrzej, of Lonsdale Avenue, Eccleston Park, hope the treatment will also save their daughter from a lifetime of operations and botox injections to ease the stiffness in her muscles.
Monika added: “Without this treatment Susanna is going to end up being a full time wheelchair user and will miss out on some of the things she is desperate to do, simple things like dancing.
“I know I am lucky in that Susanna is not terminally ill and there are lots of people in a worse situation than us but I just want to give my little girl the best life possible. I would give anything to see Susanna dance or run around with her friends.”
Helping Susanna’s family raise the money for the trip is the national charity, Caudwell Children, which supports families caring for sick and disabled children.
Anyone interested in supporting to the Help Susanna Walk Appeal can contact Caudwell Children on 01782 600114 or donate online visit www.justgiving.com/helpsusannawalk