Appeal launched to help 'exceptional' seven-year-old Stubbington girl with cerebral palsy learn to walk

A DESPERATE plea has gone out to help raise £45,000 to fund life-changing surgery for a disabled girl from Hill Head.

Thursday, 26th November 2020, 7:00 am
Updated Thursday, 26th November 2020, 9:34 am

Nickki Brown’s daughter Lana has cerebral palsy and she needs an operation called selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR), which cuts selected nerve roots in the spinal cord to reduce stiffness.

Lana, seven, goes to Heathfield School in Fareham, and she was born with cerebral palsy. The doctors said that she would never be able to talk, walk, or do anything independently, however she has gone on to surpass everyone’s predictions - and the determined girl just needs the operation to be able to learn to walk.

Nickki, 51, adopted Lana in 2014.

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Nickki Brown and Lana at home in Stubbington Picture: Habibur Rahman

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She said: ‘When she came to me she was just one and I was told that she was never going to be able to walk or talk or feed herself, basically that she was going to be a baby for the rest of her life.

‘She is now talking and eating normally, the only thing she cannot do is walk. She has pretty much mastered everything else. She is exceptional. If anyone can do it Lana can. I want to give her that chance.’

Due to the severity of Lana’s cerebral palsy, she does not qualify for the operation on the NHS.

Nickki Brown and Lana Picture: Habibur Rahman

Nickki said: ‘I have researched it and even if this operation means that we can do standing transfers, it would be worth every penny.

‘It would change our lives. I am convinced that it would get her taking steps.’

Nickki said they face daily challenges due to places not having hoists needed to be able to change Lana or lift her out of her wheelchair, a problem which is getting worse every day as Lana grows bigger.

This year has been especially hard as Lana has had two hip operations and they have had to take extra precautions due to the pandemic - something that Nickki is acutely aware of.

Nickki Brown and Lana Picture: Habibur Rahman

Nickki’s eldest daughter Sara, who also had cerebral palsy, died in 2011 from swine flu aged just 14.

She said: ‘I just know that viruses like this can kill, my daughter was proof of that.

‘It has been very tough going through all this again with Covid but Lana is a different child.

‘I have got to make sure that I do everything that I possibly can to keep her safe and give her the best opportunities in life.’

As a way to stay sane during lockdown, Nickki set up a Facebook page called Lana’s Desire To Aim Higher, where she shares videos from their daily life.

Single mum Nickki said the support she received through Facebook pushed her to carry on fundraising.

She has an account with charity Just 4 Children and it has already raised nearly £7,000 of the £45,000 target.

Nickki said: ‘I am absolutely astounded by the support and people’s generosity. There have been some beautiful messages of support. Lana is an inspiration. She is stubborn and sassy and so determined.

‘I have swallowed my pride and any help we can get we will accept. The surgery needs to be done soon, the sooner the better as it works better on children under the age of 10.

‘The fact is that she is eight soon. We have got to give her this opportunity.

‘If you are thinking of raising any money, or giving money that you would normally spend on charity Christmas cards or at fundraisers, then please consider Lana.’

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