With a daughter who has cerebral palsy and is in constant pain one mum is now trying to raise £50,000 that will cover the costs of a life-changing operation so her three-year-old can walk unaided.
Shontelle Austin, 26, of Peel Street, Sutton, wants people to get behind her and her daughter Iyra to reach this target.
“Having this operation will allow her to walk on her own and she will be in less pain, but now that figure seems unreachable and I hate watching her suffer so I am asking people to help my gorgeous little girl.”
Iyra, was born nine weeks premature and when she was only six weeks old she stopped breathing after having bronchitis. It was not until she was ten months old that she was diagnosed with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy.
“My heart sunk,” said Shontell “I hadn’t got a clue what it was and it was very scary having her diagnosed with something that I had no idea how it would impact on her.”
All four of Iyra’s limbs suffer from stiffness or permanently contracted muscles and she has to use a walker to help her get around and has splints on her legs all the time.
“At times it is so physically exhausting because Iyra needs constant attention, she can’t feed her self or go to the toilet properly and she has no sense of danger, also she doesn’t sleep all the way through the night either.” Shontell, who has a four-year-old son, is well supported by her partner and Iyra’s dad Kevin Austin , 29, who looks after the youngster when she is working and has to fit in Iyra’s physio and botox appointments.
“She is very busy seeing doctors and other people who are trying to fix her.
“The botox helps because she is in so much pain it works as a relaxant on her muscles.”
There is no cure for cerebral palsy but there is an operation which would help her to walk.
Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy is a surgical procedure that can help children with particularly severe muscle stiffness in their legs to improve their mobility. The operation involves cutting some of the nerves in the lower spinal column, which will relive leg stiffness.
However, Shontell said: “Only 100 of these amazing operations on done each year on the NHS so we are being helped by a charity called Tree Of Hope which do the operation and aftercare but it is private medical care so it costs a lot of money and that’s what we are fundraising for.”
So far the group have £1,300 which the family are so grateful for but it has made them realise just how big a task they have in front of them.
“I hate watching her suffer and would give anything for her not to be in pain.
“Right now we don’t know how long it will take us to reach our goal it could be years and years of pain for her before we hit the £50,000 mark which really upsets me.”
In January Iyra is going to mainstream nursery but her mum explained she is already starting to notice she is different from the other children so the sooner she has the operation and physio treatment the sooner she can get back to be a proper child again.
“I love her and want to take her pain away from her but I can’t I just hope people get behind this cause to help a little girl walk.”
Anyone looking to fundraise should search Iyra’s fund on Facebook or donations can be made HERE