Member Article

Tees firm gives boost to special needs charity after Georgia gets the op in the UK

More than £2,000 raised by staff at Waltons Clark Whitehill to help a colleague’s daughter travel to America for surgery has been donated to a Hartlepool charity after the operation was able to be carried out on the NHS.

When staff at the Tees Valley firm of chartered accountants and business advisers heard that Georgia Chapman would be unable to have the Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy surgery she needed in the UK, they started fundraising. However, the operation, later became available on the NHS and £2,015 raised to send Georgia to the US has been donated to Hartlepool Special Needs Support Group.

Georgia, now 8, has cerebral palsy, which caused the muscles in her legs to be so tight she walked on her toes, affecting the development of her muscles and tendons. The trip to the US and the operation on the nerves near the end of her spinal cord, allowing the muscles to relax, would have cost £60,000.

However, as colleagues of Georgia’s mother, Tracy Chapman, worked away organising fundraising events such as quizzes, baking and walks, a UK-based surgeon travelled to the US to learn how to conduct the operation, bringing that treatment back to the UK. This meant that Georgia was eventually able to have the operation in April this year on the NHS and is now walking very well and no longer needs to use her wheelchair.

Tracy, who is assistant tax manager at Hartlepool-based Waltons Clark Whitehill, and lives in Ingleby Barwick, said: “Everyone was so keen to help out that even before we were given the go-ahead to travel to the US for the operation they started fundraising, because they realised that £60,000 was a big sum for us to pull together. It is fantastic that we have been able to get Georgia’s operation on the NHS and we are delighted with the progress she has made. It really is wonderful. I can’t thank everyone enough for what they did and it is great that this money can now go to support other people with cerebral palsy through the work of Hartlepool Special Needs Support Group.”

Heather O’Driscoll, Managing Partner at Waltons Clark Whitehill, said: “Colleagues were very eager to support Tracy and her family. Having to find £60,000 for an operation that can make such a big difference to the quality of life is a tough task for most people, but we felt we could go some way to helping. The fact that the operation became available on the NHS has made things so much easier for the family, but we have made sure that the money raised hasn’t gone to waste and we hope it will be of great use to the charity.”

Pat Allinson, Manager of Hartlepool Special Needs Support Group, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been chosen to receive £2,015 which was originally raised via Waltons Clark Whitehill to help Georgia. It will be of great benefit to Hartlepool Special Needs Support Group to help us maintain our services, particularly when funding is short and it is difficult to find new avenues. We have a number of children with cerebral palsy the same condition Georgia has.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Waltons .

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