Generous Fulham residents have rallied to raise thousands of pounds towards a life-changing operation for a local schoolgirl diagnosed with a form of cerebral palsy.
And with less than a month until eight-year-old Caya Newman’s operation, fundraising is reaching fever pitch as family and friends try to reach the £40,000 target.
Caya – a pupil at Sulivan Primary School – was diagnosed with a painful condition known as spastic diplegia cerebral palsy when she was a baby, which means she can no longer walk unaided.
Caya’s mum Lucy Machin explained: “There are things that are so simple for other people, that she cannot physically do.
“Caya has been rehearsing for a carol concert and even standing for the sessions has been so painful for her, but she doesn’t want to sit down and be different from other people.”
Lucy added that after NHS funding was stopped for the selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) operation, which will cut the nerves in the spinal cord that contribute to the schoolgirl’s condition, she was determined to find a way to foot the bill.
Along with friend Jemma Greenslade, and with support from the local community, Lucy last month completed a gruelling marathon to raise funds for the op, which has been booked for 7 January.
Lucy and Jemma completed an exhausting 42 laps around South Park in Fulham on 19 November – taking them almost nine hours from start to finish.
“The sun was out and it was the best day to do it, although it was completely exhausting, it was a good day,” said Lucy, of Townmead Road, Fulham.
“Lots of parents from Sulivan Primary School came to join in at various points to keep our morale up, which was lovely.”
The pair were also joined by building contactor GM Developments’ project manager John Phoenix and a colleague, who acted as sponsors for the marathon and have been helping to raise funds towards Caya’s operation.
But with a total of more than £40,000 to raise - which includes £31,000 for the operation and at least another £10,000 for the ongoing, intensive physiotherapy required afterwards – the fundraising is still ongoing.
Sulivan Primary School is this week holding a disco to boost funds for the cause, as well as selling a book of poems written by its pupils.
And Caya even made her own Christmas tree decorations and school bag keyrings to sell at Sulivan’s festive fair.
“We sold out,” said Lucy. “It was really important for Caya to be involved in that way.”
Now the community is making its final push to raise enough for the operation to go ahead in the new year.
“It will make such a huge difference to Caya as it will mean she will finally be able to do all the little things that most of us take for granted,” added Lucy.
“We really appreciate all the support that everyone has given to us, there are so many kind-hearted people out there, it’s been overwhelming.”