A six-year-old girl who is a ‘medical phenomenon’ needs a £40,000 life-changing operation to help her walk for the first time.
Kallie Martindale, who lives in Highfield, Hemel Hempstead, was diagnosed with congenital heart disease at just six days old, but a year later her family were dealt a second blow when doctors told them the youngster also had spastic diaplegic cerebral palsy.
This condition affects the part of the brain which controls muscle movement in the body, meaning Kallie’s muscles are often tight and sore.
In order to get out and about, she has to use a specially-adapted bike, wheelchair and walking frame, and has gruelling physiotherapy sessions every week as well as annual Botox injections.
Now mum Charlie Martindale and step-dad Patrick Ward, 31, are embarking on a journey to raise £40,000 for a selective dorsal rhizotomy, which will reduce the stiffness in Kallie’s muscles and help her walk unaided.
Charlie, 37, said: “This operation would not only be life-changing for Kallie, but for us as a family. This is her chance to be able to run around like her peers.
“It’s her dream to walk and play just like any other able-bodied child.”
Despite her conditions, the Hammond Academy pupil, who has siblings Sophie, 14, Harley, nine, and two-year-old Maisie, takes life in her stride and enjoys cycling, swimming and horse-riding.
She has recently declared that she wants to be a Paralympic swimmer and horse rider after watching this year’s Rio Paralympics.
Mum Charlie said: “She’s so much fun. She drives me nuts sometimes but she’s always smiling. After she was diagnosed she became a medical phenomenon.
“There were junior doctors and trainee consultants looking at her and I was like ‘Hold on, that’s my baby girl!’.”
Incredibly, despite her long list of medical conditions doctors did not have to operate on Kallie, and Charlie says her daughter has been a ‘fighter’ ever since.
Now the family are concentrating on raising the £40,000 needed for the operation at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital, which is scheduled for February next year.
The first £27,000 is for the operation itself, while the remaining £13,000 is for Kallie’s aftercare.
Mum Charlie said: “We have raised £1,690 so far, so we’re a long way off.
“As parents we all want our kids to be happy, healthy, and live the best lives we can possibly give them.
“We are hoping through the generosity of family, friends and strangers that we are able to give Kallie this once in a lifetime chance for a better quality of life.”
Recently, family friends Hannah Wheeler, Alicia Pyke and husband and wife Ashley and JJ Coughtrey completed a 55-mile bike ride from London to Windsor, and raised £170 towards the cause.
The family say there are fundraising events in the pipeline, but in the meantime visit www.treeofhope.org.uk/kallies-hope/ to help make Kallie’s dream come true.