A FUND to provide life changing surgery for an Oldham schoolgirl is poised to top six figures.
Now 12-year-old Tilly Ziemniak, a pupil at Royton and Crompton Academy, is preparing for her big operation at the Portland Hospital, London on December 17.Eighteen months ago Tilly was diagnosed with Scoliosis (curvature of the spine).
Specialists confirmed they could provide corrective surgery on the sporty youngster but it would cost £85,000.
And to ensure maximum success they told Tilly’s mum and dad, Alison and Aaron, the operation needed to be done sooner than later.
So, the parents launched the Tilly Flop appeal and set themselves 50 days to raise sufficient funds.
There was delight when the deadline passed and they discovered the total had reached £98,074.41.
“We are shocked,” admitted Alison. “And there is still more to come in.
“We are sure in the end it will hit the £100,000 mark. It has gone crazy.
“We keep asking ourselves why it has gone the way that I has but we don’t know.
“Perhaps it was because Tilly was in a race against time. Maybe it was because we put ourselves out there so much and got involved
“We do ask that question: ‘how did we do that? It has not sunk in yet what it has just happened. We are all still numb with it.
“It has been hard work but amazingly rewarding. It has been the most amazing 50 days.
“A darts charity night alone raised £5,000 while a group of lads cycling from Oldham to Southport raised more than £3,000. Tilly’s school also raised £1,115.93.
“Everyone from big businesses to corner shops, schools and nurseries, everyone has done their bit.
“A good part of what has been raised has come from the Oldham community.
“But we have a list of where the money had come from and it has been all over his country from top to bottom.
“Then you have look outside the country and people have been doing things doing in Australia and America. I genuinely don’t know what to say.”
Tilly has already completed a pre-op visit to the Portland in readiness for her big day.
And it is hoped if the operation goes to plan she could be home for Christmas.
“As long as there are no complications Tilly should be discharged on December 23,” Alison added.
“At the pre-op they were very straight with both us and Tilly. They did say she would have a difficult Christmas in terms of pain but in terms of being mobile and up and about she will recover quickly.
“However, she cannot go to school for at least three months and then I has to be staggered return.
“It is a lengthy rehabilitation but in terms of being up and about she can appear quite well and normal quite quickly.
“And once we get back and we know Tilly is 200 per cent better and does not need anything further, we will look at donating the surplus money to someone else in need.”
Ahead of her surgery Tilly sent a message, via YouTube, to everyone who supported the appeal.
“The last couple of weeks have been crazy,” she said. “I didn’t expect to get this much.
“I have had people I don’t know supporting me, people I know supporting me and it has shown just how amazing people can be.
“Every single one of you has made my Christmas amazing because it is the only present I wanted this year.”