A COMMUNITY has ensured a campaign has taken a step in the right direction as they back an appeal to help a youngster walk.
Imogen’s Wish has been launched by four-year-old Imogen Kelly’s family to raise £28,000 to cover the costs of an operation which will allow her to walk unaided.
She has a form of cerebral palsy which affects her legs and the left side of her body. The private operation would cut the damaged nerves in her spinal cord, releasing the stiffness in the limbs.
Imogen’s mum, Sarah Rogers, had already started to raise funds and had managed to get almost £6,000 towards the appeal.
The latest event – a sponsored toddle, held by Sunshine Day Nursery at Dene House Children’s Centre, where Imogen is a pupil – boosted the fund by a further £2,324.
The school’s Leanne Fletcher said: “She’s a lovely little girl, and we felt we should help her.
“She’s come on leaps and bounds since she started coming to nursery, and all the children are aware of her condition and want to help her too.
“As her support worker, I wanted to do something for her.”
The sponsored event involved 45 children and saw members of Peterlee Neighbourhood Policing Team help the children cross the roads along their route safely, with M&J Entertainment sending along Minnie and Mickey Mouse, Hello Kitty and Spiderman to join in the session.
Leanne said: “Imogen used her walker as we left nursery and then got into her pushchair after a little while. She really enjoyed the day.”
The fund-raiser also involved a raffle and a cake sale, which was supported by parents and Country Style Foods, which donated donuts.
Cash from the day has been added to money raised through events including a battle of the bands competition, cake sales, coffee mornings and walks, with competitors to take part in Sunderland’s Color Run and a bungee jumps in Imogen’s name among further events lined up.
Sarah, 23, who gave up her sales job to care for Imogen and is now studying to become a children’s nurse, said: “All the community has pulled together and that many people have had bag packs and cake sales, the police come down to the sponsored walk, and it just shows how good Peterlee is.
“We’ve made lots of new friends too.”
Imogen was born 12 weeks early and weighed only 2lb 9oz, spending eight weeks in hospital before being allowed home.
She was diagnosed with spastic diplegia cerebral palsy when she was a year old.
Sarah has set up www.facebook.com/imogenswish to keep supporters up-to-date with the fund-raising appeal.