Ipswich: Long awaited journey for Brooke Lawrance

TOMORROW marks the beginning of a long-awaited journey for one family.

The Lawrances will be flying to America for a life-changing operation for their six-year-old daughter Brooke who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a baby and has had to use a wheelchair ever since.

Brooke’s dreams of walking for the first time are close to becoming a reality with the pioneering selective dorsal rhizotomy operation scheduled to take place on Thursday.

Another of her dreams came true last weekend when she became a mascot for her favourite team, West Ham, when they played Manchester City in a Premier League clash.

Her dad Peter, of Morland Road, Ipswich, said: “After several letters, West Ham invited Brooke along to be a mascot for the day and it wasn’t until we got there that we realised we were VIPs of David Gold and were treated like royalty.

“Brooke got to go on the pitch in her West Ham kit and the match was shown on TV so millions saw her.

“All six of us went along for the day and Brooke was also given autographs from all the players.”

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But Mr Lawrance said the icing on the cake was that Brooke has been invited back after her operation as the club want her to walk on to the pitch.

“It’s a really lovely gesture and they want us to keep them updated on Brooke’s progress,” he added. “It’s great to have the support of a massive club like West Ham.”

Brooke’s parents have been fundraising for the �70,000 needed for the surgery since October last year and have raised more than �61,000 to date.

The whole family – including Brooke’s two sisters, Nadine and Neve, and brother Samuel – will be flying to America tomorrow and heading to St Louis Children’s Hospital in Missouri where they will spend five weeks.

Mr Lawrance said: “All being well we should fly home on December 15 and the hope is to enjoy a big family Christmas together.”

n Send your messages of support for Brooke to Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail starletters@archant.co.uk