Ipswich: Parents’ battle to let brave Brooke walk for first time

IPSWICH: At the age of five most children are running around in the park, but not little Brooke Lawrance. She has never been able to walk.

The youngster was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when she was a baby and has had to use a wheelchair since.

But her devoted parents Sarah and Peter want to change their daughter’s life forever and make her dreams of walking come true.

The couple are embarking on a mission to raise �40,000 for the Brooke’s Wish To Walk appeal to fund an operation which is currently only available in America and at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol, which has recently started to do the surgery.

Mrs Lawrance, of Morland Road, said: “It really breaks my heart when Brooke is left behind crying while all her sisters, brother and friends are running ahead or playing on playground equipment and Brooke just has to sit and watch.”

The mum-of-four said the selective dorsal rhizotomy operation has been carried out in the US for 24 years.

“It would make Brooke’s life so much better for her and give her a better outlook,” she added. “The doctors will never say it’s a miracle cure, but her having the operation would be a miracle for us.

Most Read

“Brooke cries every morning because her legs are hurting her and it’s heartbreaking because we can’t do anything to take the pain away.”

The six-hour operation involves nerves in the lower spine being located and cut, followed by intensive physiotherapy.

Mrs Lawrance, 32, said: “The costs involved are close to �40,000 and are not funded by the NHS.

“This will pay for her operation, the duration of a month’s stay for her pre-operative and post-operative care, physiotherapy and the equipment she will need afterwards.

“We are waiting to hear back from our PCT to see if we can get funding for the operation.

“If we get the funding it will cover the operation but not the aftercare which we’ll have to pay for. If the PCT say no then we will have to self-fund all of it.

“As soon as that’s decided we’ll be referred to Bristol.”

Brooke was born three weeks prematurely but Mrs Lawrance said she knew something was not right when the baby was not sitting up or rolling over at the age of nine months.

“The health visitor said she was lazy but I knew something was wrong,” she said.

“She was eventually referred to Addenbrooke’s and as soon as the doctor saw her he said she had spastic cerebral palsy.

“It was such a shock and I don’t remember anything else from that appointment. It just all went over my head.”

Despite her condition Brooke, who attends both Thomas Wolsey School and Britannia Primary School, always has a big smile on her face.

Mrs Lawrance added: “She’s a little celebrity in her schools. We walk around and someone always goes past saying ‘hi’ and I haven’t a clue who they are.”

n Visit www.justgiving.com/brookeswishtowalk to make Brooke’s dream come true.

n Have you got an inspirational story? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk