A young north-east girl with cerebral palsy was due to have surgery today that may help her ability to walk.
Nine-year-old Olivia Brands was in Bristol this morning awaiting a procedure called selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR), which her parents hope will improve her walking ability, and may even let her walk unaided.
Her family and local community have so far raised £23,000 for the Kincorth youngster’s operation.
The procedure itself cost £19,000 and Olivia’s mum Senga planned to use a further £2,000 for a tendon lengthening procedure that may be required after the surgery. Any remaining cash will help pay the costs of the trip, which is expected to last for one to two weeks, depending on whether tendon lengthening is needed.
Senga, 40, said: “It’s nerve-racking that now it’s so close. Obviously we’ve been trying to get this operation for her for so long. It’s just weird.”
Senga said Olivia had been “fine” in the lead up to the operation, but predicted her daughter might have some pre-op jitters.
Both Senga and husband Steven, 36, know that the surgery is not the end of the road for Olivia.
Senga said: “As soon as the operation is finished, we know that’s just the start of it.
“There’s still going to be lots of aftercare and physiotherapy to be done.”
Both parents have been researching SDR for almost five years, and have been fundraising for 18 months.
Senga wanted to pay tribute to the people who helped to raise money for Olivia, including her cousin Lewis, who completed a sponsored climb of Bennachie at the age of seven.
She said: “It’s been really nice, people have just come to us and asked if they could do stuff to raise money. There are people who have been doing bungee jumping and shaving their heads to raise money, it’s been really, really lovely.”