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Mystery Millionaire Pays £75,000 So Girl, 4, Can Walk For First Time

by : Emily Brown on : 20 Nov 2020 18:19
Mystery Millionaire Pays £75,000 So Girl, 4, Can Walk For First TimeMystery Millionaire Pays £75,000 So Girl, 4, Can Walk For First TimeMercury Press

A four-year-old girl from Yorkshire will be able to walk for the first time after a mystery millionaire donor paid for her to undergo life-changing surgery. 

Emily Anderson, from Doncaster, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy in 2017 after her parents, Paula and John Anderson, noticed that she wasn’t developing.

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An MRI scan found damage to the left side of her brain caused by her being born prematurely, and as a result doctors were under the impression she may never be able to walk or talk.

Emily and her sistersEmily and her sistersMercury Press

Following the diagnosis, Paula began looking into different surgery options and came across Selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR). The operation would aid Emily’s movement, and while it is available on the NHS, it is extremely hard to get.

Paula explained:

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The muscles and nerves in Emily’s legs don’t work with her brain so the surgery will cut the nerves and reduce the spasticity in her legs so they will stretch out more and function.

She can’t stand up straight or sit with her legs out so it will give her a chance to do that and be able to walk. Unfortunately it was unavailable on the NHS for Emily, but we, along with private consultants, are really confident that this procedure will be really beneficial for her.

The surgery is more effective from this age than later on in life, so the longer we leave it, the less effective it might be, so we didn’t want to wait.

Emily grinning at cameraEmily grinning at cameraMercury Press

The determined mother set up an online fundraiser in the hopes of raising the £75,000 needed to fund the spinal surgery privately. Within just 24 hours, an anonymous donor offered to cover the bill, as well as a trip to Disneyland afterwards.

After hearing the news, Paula said she was ‘speechless’.

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She commented:

I was so emotional when the donor called me with the offer.

It was all out of the blue and I didn’t expect it at all. He wants to fund her medical care, treatment, aftercare and treat her to a Disney trip afterwards which is just incredible.

Emily's family at DisneylandEmily's family at DisneylandMercury Press

Paula stressed that there’s ‘no way’ she can show the anonymous donor ‘how thankful [they] are’, adding: ‘I’m so grateful they believe in my daughter like I do.’

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Emily is described as a ‘caring, loving and polite girl’ who is ‘absolutely clued up and intelligent’, and despite doctors’ fears about her speech she was actually discharged from speech therapy after becoming so chatty.

She never lets her diagnosis get her down, and she has been undergoing intense physiotherapy sessions which will increase in the run up to and following her surgery.

Emily smiling at cameraEmily smiling at cameraMercury Press

Paula and John have booked an appointment in December to begin arranging Emily’s treatment, with the mother acknowledging it is ‘going to change her life’.

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She added:

She desperately wants to be involved with her friends at mainstream school and she has a brilliant set of teachers and friends who help her.

John and I, as well as Emily’s sisters Katie, 16, Charlotte, 12 and Mia, 16 months, are really looking forward to the future and I’m excited for her to reach even more milestones.

I would be grateful if people could come forward if their child has had the procedure to point me in the right direction.

The mum noted that the ‘amazing opportunity’ will help Emily achieve her ‘goal’ of being able to walk.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Life, Disneyland, operation, Yorkshire