News ID: 277081
Published: 1019 GMT November 21, 2020

Mystery millionaire pays for £75,000 surgery of British girl, 4, so she can walk for first time

Mystery millionaire pays for £75,000 surgery of British girl, 4, so she can walk for first time
The kindhearted stranger has made Emily’s dream come true after relying on a wheelchair to get around all her life.

A mystery millionaire has paid £750,000 for a four-year-old girl to have life-changing surgery which will let her walk for the first time.

Emily Anderson’s family said the kindhearted stranger has made her dream come true after relying on a wheelchair to get around all her life, according to 

The little girl, from Doncaster, South Yorkshire, has cerebral palsy, but the operation to aid movement, selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR), is extremely hard to get on the National Health Service (NHS). 

Mom Paula Ratcliffe, 34, set up an online fundraiser last week to begin raising money for the private spinal surgery. But within just 24 hours an anonymous donor offered to foot the bill for everything — as well as a trip to Disneyland afterwards.

The secret donor’s generosity means fun-loving Emily will finally be able to take the steps towards achieving her dream of being able to walk. 

Paula said: “It’s the first time in my life that I’ve ever been speechless and I was so emotional when the donor called me with the offer. 

“Within about 24 hours of putting up the fundraiser, I got a phone call to say that the offer was there for everything to be paid for by a secret donor, who wanted to remain anonymous. 

“It was all out of the blue and I didn’t expect it at all. “He wants to fund her medical care, treatment, aftercare and treat her to a Disney trip afterwards which is just incredible. 

“There’s no way I can show how thankful we are to this person and I’m so grateful they believe in my daughter like I do.”

As a baby, Emily’s parents Paula and John Anderson, 36, spotted that she wasn’t developing and took her to hospital when she began having worrying spasms. 

Emily was officially diagnosed with cerebral palsy in 2017, when an MRI scan found damage to the left side of her brain caused by her being born prematurely — leading doctors to believe she may never be able to walk or talk. 

Paula, a stay-at-home mom-of-four, began looking into different surgeries, when she stumbled across the SDR. 

She added: “The muscles and nerves in Emily’s legs don’t work with her brain so the surgery will cut the nerves and reduce the spasticity in her legs so they will stretch out more and function.

“She can’t stand up straight or sit with her legs out so it will give her a chance to do that and be able to walk. 

“Unfortunately it was unavailable on the NHS for Emily, but we, along with private consultants are really confident that this procedure will be really beneficial for her. 

“The surgery is more effective from this age than later on in life, so the longer we leave it, the less effective it might be, so we didn’t want to wait.”

Despite her mobility issues, Emily never lets it get her down and she was even discharged from speech therapy this year because she had become so chatty. 

She currently has intense physiotherapy sessions, which she will need more of in the run up to and following the life-changing surgery. 

And with the news of the kind donation of funds from a stranger, Emily’s parents have booked an appointment in December to begin arranging the treatment. 

Paula added: “Mentally, Emily is absolutely clued up and intelligent — it’s just her body that lets her down. 

“This surgery is going to change her life and is a massive thing for her.

“She desperately wants to be involved with her friends at mainstream school and she has a brilliant set of teachers and friends who help her.

“John and I, as well as Emily’s sisters Katie, 16, Charlotte, 12 and Mia, 16 months, are really looking forward to the future and I’m excited for her to reach even more milestones. 

“I would be grateful if people could come forward if their child has had the procedure to point me in the right direction. 

“Emily is such a caring, loving and polite girl and this amazing opportunity will help her achieve her goal of being able to walk.”

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