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‘Secret millionaire’ offers to pay four-year-old girl’s £75,000 life-changing cerebral palsy surgery

A ‘secret millionaire’ has offered to fund a four-year-old girl’s £75,000 life-changing surgery which will enable her to walk for the first time as well as a trip to Disneyland. 

Emily Anderson, from Doncaster, South Yorkshire, has cerebral palsy but the operation to aid movement, Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR), is hard to get on the NHS. 

Mother-of-four Paula Ratcliffe, 34, and father John Anderson, 36, said the kind stranger has made her dream come true after she has always relied on a wheelchair.

Emily Anderson, four, from Doncaster, South Yorkshire, has cerebral palsy but the operation to aid movement, Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR), is extremely hard to get on the NHS

Emily Anderson, four, from Doncaster, South Yorkshire, has cerebral palsy but the operation to aid movement, Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR), is extremely hard to get on the NHS

Paula set up an online fundraiser last week to begin raising £75,000 for the private spinal surgery. 

And just 24 hours later an anonymous donor offered to foot the bill for everything – as well as a trip to Disneyland. 

Paula said: ‘It’s the first time in my life that I’ve ever been speechless and I was so emotional when the donor called me with the offer.

Mother-of-four Paula Ratcliffe, 34, and father John Anderson, 36, (pictured) said the kind stranger has made her dream come true after she has always relied on a wheelchair

Mother-of-four Paula Ratcliffe, 34, and father John Anderson, 36, (pictured) said the kind stranger has made her dream come true after she has always relied on a wheelchair

‘Within about 24 hours of putting up the fundraiser, I got a phone call to say that the offer was there for everything to be paid for by a secret donor, who wanted to remain anonymous.

‘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.

‘There’s no way I can show how thankful we are to this person and I’m so grateful they believe in my daughter like I do.’

Emily's parents spotted that Emily she wasn't developing as a baby and took her to hospital when she began having worrying spasms

Emily’s parents spotted that Emily she wasn’t developing as a baby and took her to hospital when she began having worrying spasms

Emily’s parents spotted that Emily she wasn’t developing as a baby and took her to hospital when she began having worrying spasms.

She was officially diagnosed with cerebral palsy in 2017, when an MRI scan found damage to the left side of her brain caused by her being born prematurely which led doctors to believe she may never be able to walk or talk.

Stay-at-home mother Paula began looking into different surgeries when she found Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR).

Paula added: ‘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.

Emily was officially diagnosed with cerebral palsy in 2017, when an MRI scan found damage to the left side of her brain caused by her being born prematurely which led doctors to believe she may never be able to walk or talk

Emily was officially diagnosed with cerebral palsy in 2017, when an MRI scan found damage to the left side of her brain caused by her being born prematurely which led doctors to believe she may never be able to walk or talk

‘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 (pictured with her father John) currently has intense physiotherapy sessions, which she will need more of in the run up to and following the life-changing surgery

Emily (pictured with her father John) currently has intense physiotherapy sessions, which she will need more of in the run up to and following the life-changing surgery

Despite her mobility issues, Emily never lets it get her down and she was even discharged from speech therapy this year because she had become so chatty.

She currently has intense physiotherapy sessions, which she will need more of in the run up to and following the life-changing surgery.

And with the news of the kind donation of funds from a stranger, Emily’s parents have booked an appointment in December to begin arranging the treatment.

Despite her mobility issues, Emily never lets it get her down and she was even discharged from speech therapy this year because she had become so chatty

Despite her mobility issues, Emily never lets it get her down and she was even discharged from speech therapy this year because she had become so chatty

Paula added: ‘Mentally, Emily is absolutely clued up and intelligent – it’s just her body that lets her down.

‘This surgery is going to change her life and is a massive thing for her.

‘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.

An anonymous donor offered to foot the bill for everything - as well as a trip to Disneyland

An anonymous donor offered to foot the bill for everything – as well as a trip to Disneyland

‘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.

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

‘Emily is such a caring, loving and polite girl and this amazing opportunity will help her achieve her goal of being able to walk.’

To help fund any future care Emily may require visit her fundraiser at https://gf.me/u/y8ajha. 

What is cerebral palsy?

According to the NHS Cerebral Palsy is a life-long condition, which affects movement and coordination and often emerges in early childhood. 

The condition is believed to be caused by development issues of the baby in the womb. 

Treatments can include physiotherapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy in addition to medicines for muscle stiffness.

Possible signs in a child include: 

Delay in reaching developmental milestones

Weak arms or legs

Walking on tiptoes

Too stiff or floppy – hypotonia  

 

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