A MUM has launched a £28,000 appeal to help her toddler take her first steps for herself.
Imogen Kelly has a form of cerebral palsy which affects her legs and the left side of her body, leading her mother Sarah Rogers to launch the fund to help her live life to the full.
The cash will be used to cover the cost of a private operation which will snip damaged nerves in her spinal cord, releasing the stiffness in her legs.
She will then have physiotherapy as she builds up muscle and learns to walk afresh.
The youngster, who uses a frame to get around, already has a programme of exercises to help her mobility and has botox injections.
But Sarah says while the surgery can be carried out by the NHS, the number of cases given the go ahead are small, and as time is of the essence, she has launched Imogen’s Wish campaign.
Sarah, 23, from Peterlee, said: “With a physical disability, like many, she compensates for it in a lot of ways and is very smart.
“The most I want for her out of the operation is her independence.
“I’m determined she won’t be held back by her condition and I want her to have a happy, normal life.
“She’s at that period in her life when she’s only going to get worse, she will never get better, and in the long term she could have of curvature of the spine and other complications.
“The NHS sometimes does the operation and funds it, but there’s a very select criteria.
“We believe Imogen needs it, so that’s why we’re funding it privately.
“They’ve said she’s an ideal candidate.
“I’m hoping we can raise the money as soon as possible and I know it’s a lot in my eyes.”
Imogen was born 12 weeks prematurely and weighed only 2lb 9oz, spending eight weeks in hospital before she was allowed home for the first time.
He condition, spastic diplegia cerebral palsy, was diagnosed when she was a year old, when she did not meet the development milestones for her age and she had issues with her motor skills.
Her treatment is overseen by doctors at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, with Sarah grateful their help and the support of Imogen’s nursery.
Sarah gave up her sales rep job to become a carer for her daughter, but is studying at East Durham College with the aim of becoming a children’s nurse, after she was inspired to change her career by her daughter’s condition and the work she has seen the NHS done.
She has set up a page, www.facebook.com/imogenswish, which also has a donate button, so people can pledge their backing to the campaign, with a battle of the bands, bag packs, sponsorship of Great North Run competitors and other events planned to boost the fund.