In February 2012, my granddaughter Abbey was turned down by the NHS for SDR surgery and our family was faced with only one option which came with a very large price tag of £35,000. We took the decision to press ahead with plans for her operation at the Frenchay Hospital in Bristol and decided to start fund raising as this was not a sum we could raise within the family. Our initial thoughts were that we had around 12 months to achieve our target but as we were putting together our web site and just starting to plan a programme of events we were told by the hospital that a date had been set for early September, leaving us only 7 months to raise the money. I must confess at this time
we had great fears of making the target on time but over that 7 months met some amazing people who gave to the cause with good heart and within days of the operation date we were able to transfer the operation cost to the Frenchay and soon after made our final target of £35,000.
Abbey’s road to Bristol included events such as a Charity Golf Day, Collections at Football Matches, Sky Dives, Abseiling down buildings, Classical Music Concert and a 1940’s theme buffet and dance, our final event for Abbey held on the day she returned home from hospital.
Over that 7 months, apart from coming in contact with the face of British Charity from personalities such as Ken Dodd down to school children donating profits from their tuck shop funds, we also met many families who were just starting out on their road to Bristol just like Abbey had done all those months before. Also over that 7 months we only met one family who had been funded by the NHS for the SDR procedure. This brought home to us the plight of hundreds of families who were struggling to give their child the chance to walk in the UK without NHS help.
Changing the health authorities views on funding this procedure is all important but in the meantime there are families who just don’t have that time. The SDR procedure has best results in children between 5 and 11 years so the clock is ticking!
We have decided to give other children their wish to walk and enjoy the same results that Abbey is now enjoying, one such child is James Dwight of Gloucestershire who “Abbeys wish to walk” are fund raising for at present.
Together we have so far raised around £8,000 in about a month and James’s father Jai is waiting news from the Frenchay on a firm date for the procedure. If like us he is given a date in 6 or 7 months, then time is going to be tight and we need every penny we can raise.
The main website for James is http://www.jamesdwightswishtowalk.co.uk
There is also a page where donations can be made on line at
Abbeys website for those who would like to see her progress is at
As each family is helped we increase the size of our group to help the next family – “the snowball effect” but to get us underway we really need support and donations for James, even a donation of a few pounds can make the difference for him.
Today we are 2 families of one mind to help others – how many families by this time next year?