A little girl whose family appealed for help to raise money for a lifechanging operation to save her leg is to fly out to Israel for treatment tomorrow.
Westdene schoolgirl Kyra Warrell, 6, who has a rare leg deformity, was told by doctors that the only option open to her in the UK was amputation of her left leg so that she could use a prosthetic.
But her parents Neil and Rima discovered that a US doctor was pioneering leg lengthening surgery which should mean Kyra will be able to stand on her own two feet.
In November, they started a fundraising campaign and have now raised £48,000 of the £58,000 they need for the first operation. A travel grant from the charity Please Take Me There means they are able to fly to Israel, where Dr Dror Paley conducts the surgery once a year to make it affordable for non-US patients.
This year, he will be there on Thursday, and so will Kyra – and with lots of fundraising activities still planned, the family is confident they’ll be able to pay for the operation.
Rima said: “It’s been amazing. It’s overwhelming really, why us, why are people really wanting to help? I can’t put it in words how incredible it’s been.
“It’s such a daunting amount to raise. People are donating more than once. We ca’t get our heads around it.
“Kyra is just six years old – she’s happy one day and the next she’s grumpy and she doesn’t want to do any photographs. When we’d raised £40,000, she asked why she couldn’t have 40,000 sweets instead.
“She knows the seriousness of it all because she’s heard us talking to the doctors. She remembers the good things about the previous operations like getting to eat coco pops for breakfast. And she’s excited about having her birthday overseas next week.”
But even though getting to Israel this week has been an amazing achievement, once they get back the fundraising will start once again for the second operation – which will come with an even bigger bill.
Rima said: “Next year we will have to temporarily relocate to Florida for a few months, which will also be expensive, and we’ll need to raise £95,000 for that and the operation.
“Assuming we make our target for this, anything more will go towards the next target.”