As they rattled their charity bucket at a rugby match, the most they were expecting was a bit of loose change left over from the fans’ half-time beers. But the volunteers, who were raising money in aid of a young cerebral palsy sufferer, were left stunned when a businessman dropped £21,000 into their collection. Conor McCloskey stopped to ask how much they were short of their £40,000 target, which was needed to send three-year-old Ellie Jury to America for a pioneering operation.
When they told him £21,000, he wrote out a cheque on the spot for the whole amount.
Ellie’s mother Lucy, 21, said: ‘It was the most fantastic act of generosity. I don’t know what to say to him other than thanks – he has never wanted anything in return.’
Brave Ellie was born with the rare condition Spastic Diplegia, a form of cerebral palsy, which means she was forced to walk on tip toes.
Her family and friends were having a collection at an international rugby match in Cardiff asking passers-by to throw a few coins into the bucket for Ellie.
Ellie’s family, from Blaengarw, near Bridgend, feared it would take more than a year to raise the £40,000 to send her to the specialist clinic in Missouri.
Mr McCloskey’s huge donation to the Elliesgoody2feet Foundation the family were able to fly her out straight away.
Ellie has now had the operation and is having physiotherapy five times a week to help her walk by the time she starts school next year.
Mother Lucy said: ‘She walks a lot further and most importantly of all she walks with flat feet now. So many people helped and I want to thank everyone.’
Mr McCloskey said: ‘Me and my wife have two nine-month-old boys ourselves. We couldn’t fathom the thought of our own boys being in the predicament Ellie is in.
‘No child should have to grow up with that and if me and my wife could do something to let her have a normal life that would be worthwhile.
‘We are not heroes. We were in the position to donate the money to give Ellie a chance in life, so we did.’