Two young girls with cerebral palsy who were unable to walk unaided have shown true friendship by raising thousands for a life-changing operation.
Four-year-old Casey Burke, from Flitwick, helped raise a staggering £44,184 for her best friend, five-year-old Matilda Duncan, to have an operation at the world renowned Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, allowing her to walk.
Casey, whose condition is too severe for her to have an operation, was still determined to help her best buddy to walk unassisted by fundraising the amount required.
Proud mum Suzanne Burke said: “Casey can’t walk and is unable to have the spinal surgery.
“She loves Matilda and has never, ever, felt sorry for herself. She’s never even said – why can’t I have an operation?
“All she wanted to do was help her best friend. She said to me: ‘Matilda doesn’t have enough money in her piggy bank to pay for the operation so we have to help.’
“So she initially started an appeal through social media asking the general public to donate a pound each. It just snowballed from there and they soon got inundated with funds.
“She was literally receiving hundreds of letters with pound coins attached, and people were handing her envelopes with cash in them.
“The general public have been so supportive and generous. What these two kids have done with the support of everyone is so admirable.”
Casey, a pupil at Templefield Lower School, Flitwick, said: ”I just want my best friend to be OK.”
Matilda added: “Casey is my best friend and we both have cerebral palsy.
“She can’t have an operation but the doctors said I could. I love her for helping me. I will always help her too.”
Matilda has since had revolutionary surgery, a procedure – known as Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy – which involved cutting the nerves that cause cerebral palsy, and is currently undergoing intensive physiotherapy allowing her to walk.
Suzanne said: ”It’s great news that Matilda has now had the operation – I am so proud of Casey for helping her and the way she has supported her friend. My other two children are so proud of their sister as well.”
The campaign was backed by children’s charity Tree Of Hope and supported by Olympic diver Tom Daley.