A DETERMINED single dad has launched an appeal this week to raise £35,000 for an operation which could help his four-year-old daughter walk unaided.
Little Lily Ketteringham has cerebral palsy, which means that she needs a special frame or a wheelchair to get around.
Her father Steve, 40, is calling on the community to help him to raise the money for a pioneering operation, which was developed in the United States and is now being undertaken in the UK.
The procedure, a selective dorsal rhizotomy, could help unscramble the mixed messages that Lily’s brain sends to her muscles and impedes her movement.
Steve, of Wivelsfield Road in Balby, said: “I heard about the operation by complete chance. I was up in Newcastle buying a special needs trike as a present for Lily when I got chatting to the owner.
“She told me about her child who also had struggled to walk but had this operation and is now able to take some steps and is making real progress.”
Steve researched the operation and discovered that it was now being carried out at centres in the UK - but very few primary care trusts are able to fund them.
He added: “The option to go private costs £1,000 for an assessment and £25,000 for the actual operation.”
Waverley Primary School pupil Lily was born ten weeks premature and admitted to the neo-natal unit at Doncaster Royal Infirmary where she remained for a month.
At nine months, she was still struggling to support herself and she was eventually diagnosed with spastic diplegia - a form of cerebral palsy.
Steve, 40, added: “Lily is a truly delightful little girl with a smile to light up the room, she gets on with things and has a determination to do things other people take for granted.
“This operation could be her chance to have an independent future and to live as normal life as possible and that is all that I want.”
Steve is kicking off the fundraising by signing up to the Great North Run next year.
To make a donation, visit www.justgiving.com/littlestepsforlilyfund or call the Free Press on 01302 347265 to promote any events in Lily’s name.