Susanna’s delight

Susanna Petersburska, four, from Eccleston Park, who has cerebral palsy, sister Maja, six, and their mum Monika
Susanna Petersburska, four, from Eccleston Park, who has cerebral palsy, sister Maja, six, and their mum Monika

A LITTLE girl unable to walk is set to fly out to America for a ground-breaking operation after a staggering donation smashed her family’s lofty fund-raising target.

The parents of five-year-old Susanna Petersburska say a donation of more than £140,000 from US restaurant chain Frankie & Benny’s following a nationwide fund-raising weekend was beyond their wildest dreams.

Not only did it beat their original £60,000 target, it also means that Susanna, of Lonsdale Avenue, Eccleston Park, can now jet off to the US for pioneering treatment in less than two months time.

Susanna’s delighted father, Andrzej, who works for Frankie & Benny’s, said: “We were in shock at how much money was raised. We can’t thank everyone enough. We’re all so happy.

“The whole family is going to fly to America between October 15 and 19 in time for Susanna’s pre-op on October 22. The operation has already been booked in for October 25.

“Hopefully we should only be over there for four or five weeks before Susanna can come home and start 18 months of after care. We’re also going to buy her a special treadmill to help get her used to walking.

“All the extra money will be donated to other children in need like Susanna. If we can do anything to help other children, we will.”

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.

But a ground-breaking treatment called selective dorsal rhizotomy is aimed at reducing muscle tension to make it easier for her to increase strength via a combination of therapy and exercise.

Only one UK surgeon currently performs 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.

Susanna’s parents, Andrzej and Monika, and older sister Maja, all hope the treatment will save Susanna from a lifetime of operations and botox injections.

Monika said: “We’re absolutely thrilled and overcome that we have surpassed our fund-raising target and are so grateful to everyone who donated and for the help and support we have received from Frankie & Benny’s who have made Susanna’s dreams come true.

“Without this operation Susanna would be a full-time wheelchair user.”

Frankie & Benny’s managing director Danny Breithaupt added: “Susanna is a very special little girl and we are so pleased to be able to make a real difference to her life. Raising above and beyond the £60,000 needed means we can use the additional funds raised to help other children in need.”