A ROYTON and Crompton Academy pupil hopes to have the best Christmas of her young life.A huge fundraising campaign is underway to enable 12-year-old Tilly Ziemniak to receive life changing surgery.
Eighteen months ago Tilly was diagnosed with Scoliosis (curvatures of the spine) which often occurs most often during a growth spurt in youngsters.
The operation to be performed at the Portland Hospital in London – the UK’s largest private children’s hospital – will cost £85,000.
In little more than a month around £30,000 has been raised towards the target.
Tilly’s story has even reached the west coast of America. The family recently received a message from an exiled Oldhamer to say a branch of Starbucks in Las Vegas wants to a collection pot and asked for the ‘Tilly Flop’ branding.
But as mum Alison told the Correspondent there is only a limited time frame for surgery to take place to achieve the maximum benefit.
If successful, then the active youngster, who loves dancing and playing sport, will be able to lead a near normal life.
“Tilly has been offered an operation on the NHS,” explained Alison.
“But we wanted to find an alternative procedure which would leave her more flexible.
“Given the state of her spine at the minute, the surgeon confirmed Tilly only has a small window of opportunity for her to still be suitable for that procedure.
“As the state of her spine has got worse she hasn’t been able to do some of the things she loved and it has changed her character.
“When she was at primary school (Hodge Clough), she was awarded sports girl of the year.
“She took part in any team she could get on: football, cricket, running.
“She danced with the Buckley Belles but had to stop because of the pain,” added full-time mum Alison whose younger son suffers from severe autism and another daughter with epilepsy.
“The fundraising has given us so much more hope. Even If we don’t reach £85,000, we will get to a certain point where we can manage to do it.
“As parents we just have to do it somehow, someway.”
As donations continue to come in Tilly’s surgery has been booked in for Tuesday, December 17
“I am really overwhelmed with all the support,” added Alison.
“There are people out there who I don’t even know who are working so hard.
“They come across just as determined as us to get her that operation.
“While we have collected so much already there are still so many things going on up and down the country. I never imagined it would be like it is.”
Dad Aaron added: “I can only explain it when you see a bundle of life, grinning, smiling and happy to someone who finds things a bit of a chore and a grind. You can see them go within themselves.”
Tilly said: “I can’t really do as much as I used to because my back is getting worse. So, it hurts even more.”
Among the fundraising activities is a darts exhibition by Nathan Aspinall, the 2019 UK Open champion, at the Railway Hotel, Oldham Road on November 20.