Rutherglen girl within touching distance of life changing operation
Oct 10 2012
by Will Henshaw, Rutherglen Reformer
THE family of little Jessica Penny are within touching distance of having enough cash to send her to the United States for a potentially life-changing operation.
As a result of being starved of oxygen at birth, little Jessica Penny, of Burnside, was left with cerebral palsy. She also has speech difficulties and cannot walk unaided.
Parents Lynne and Colin hope an operation called selective dorsal rhizotomy will help the five-year-old walk.
The procedure was developed in the 1980s and involves cutting sensory nerves in the base of the spine to relieve muscle rigidity caused by cerebral palsy. Many people with cerebral palsy have muscle rigidity in their lower limbs, making walking and sitting difficult.
The operation takes place at St Louis Children’s Hospital, Missouri, and is preformed by chief neurosurgeon Dr TS Park.
However, the operation, flights and therapy total a whopping £60,000, but Lynne says watching Jessica longing to play with her friends and sister on the jungle gym is unbearable.
Ever since the Reformer first highlighted the family’s story in April this year the cash has been rolling in and the total so far stands at just over £57,000.
And Lynne admits when they started she wasn’t 100 per cent sure they would raise the sum.
“It just seemed so far and it seemed like such a big task,” she added. “It was hard at the start but since we’ve been at about £24,000 we’ve gained the momentum and people have got really involved. We wanted to get the surgery one way or the other even if we had to get loans. I’m so sure it’s the right thing to do for her.”
Now that they’re so close, Lynne admits she has been taken aback by the community’s generosity, adding: “I can’t believe it. I don’t know how to explain it. We’re really touched by how generous people have been. “We’re also getting a bit scared. It’s not a little thing we’re doing, it’s major surgery.”
Right now they’re trying to prepare wee Jess for what will be a life-changing event. Although the youngster isn’t looking forward to the operation, she desperately wants to be able to run around like other children.
Lynne added: “If we say, ‘Do you want to go see the doctor for new legs?’ she says ‘No’. But if we say, ‘Do you want to be able to run around like [her sister] Emily’ she says ‘Yes’. We’re just trying to get her ready.”
Although it’s been a long road to get here, Lynne admits it has been fun at times, saying: “I’ve enjoyed a lot of the things like the stalls at Landemer Day. You meet lots of interesting people. Even the bag packing has been fun. Maybe we’ll keep planning events for charity.”
But it’s not over just yet. There’s still other sponsorship money to be collected. Plus one of the biggest events, Jessica’s Ball, is still to come, at the Crown Plaza in Glasgow, on November 3.
For information call Crowne Plaza on 0141-306-9933 or email Alan_Robertson@hotmail.com.
To donate directly go tojustgiving.com/everypenny.