THE family of a disabled schoolgirl who is unable to walk are hoping that thousands of pounds can be raised to get her the canine companion she needs.
Nine-year-old Jasmine Ather developed four-limb cerebral palsy after being born prematurely at 27 weeks.
The brave East Rainton youngster spent the first eight weeks of her life in Sunderland Royal Hospital’s Neonatal unit as she fought for life.
At one-year-old, Jasmine’s family were told the “worst news ever”, that she would never be able to sit up, walk or crawl without help.
The condition continues to affect the East Rainton Primary School pupil’s day-to-day life, as she needs a wheelchair to get around and see her friends. Jasmine’s loving family are now hoping to get her a new sense of independence by buying her an assistance dog.
A total of £5,000 is needed to buy a pooch from Service Dogs Europe and today her mum Lynsey spelled out why the animal is needed for her daughter.
Speaking days after Jasmine underwent another painful operation, Lynsey, 32, said: “Jasmine is a happy and very intelligent girl. However, we’re noticing more and more that she is getting down and depressed at having to rely on adults and other kids for everything.
“She would like nothing more than be able to be totally independent and although we live in hope, we don’t think she ever will be, which is really sad.
“We’ve recently been given some hope after being accepted by a company called Service Dogs Europe – UK, for a support assistance dog for Jasmine.
“However, this is going to cost a lot of money and that’s something which we simply don’t have. We need to raise £5,000 to get Jasmine the dog that she truly needs, not only to help her be independent but also for companionship as she can’t go out and play like most kids her age.
“She struggles with this and a dog, especially a fully trained assistance dog, would make her life so much better in more ways than one.”
Jasmine is currently recovering at home after having derotational osteotomy surgery at Sunderland Royal Hospital, in which medics had to cut a piece of bone out of the top of her thigh.
Her grandmother Linda, 62, said: “She’s been waking up in so much pain and it’s hard for us to see her like that.
“She desperately wants to walk but we can’t make that happen, so we know the thing that she needs is a friend who will be with her all the time.”
•To help Jasmine’s appeal, which has already raised almost £450, go to www.gofundme.com/l8am0k.