How the whole world stepped up for Sophie
Thursday 27th March 2014 @ 11:20 by Max Wieland


APPEAL: Cllr Jackie Lane with Sophie and her mum Alison.

PICTURED: Cllr Jackie Lane with little Sophie and her mum Alison.

A Tameside toddler will be able to take her first steps and undergo a life changing operation thanks to charitable donations from across the globe.

Since first reporting Sophie Thomlinson’s plight five weeks ago, her story has gone around the world.

Two-year-old Sophie was diagnosed cerebral palsy (spastic diplegia) which affects the youngster because of a condition that creates a constant tightness of the muscles.

Her only hope of being able to walk and stand independently is to have Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) surgery, a complex operation which has helped thousands of other children to walk again.

But it costs £25,000 and is not available on the NHS.

That total was achieved emphatically on Friday when Sophie’s story went national.

By the time a fundraising event was held at Hughes’s Bar in Denton at the weekend, the £25,000 had been hit.

“It doesn’t feel real, I keep expecting to wake up and be at the beginning of our total again,” said Sophie’s mum Allison.

“The fundraiser still rose over £1,000 which is fantastic, but in the end it felt like more of a celebration, everything else raised now is a bonus to help other children in a similar situation.”

After reaching the £25,000, the Tree of Hope – the charity the Thomlinson family were raising money for as they aim to help sick children in the UK who need specialist medical surgery – suggested a new target of £35,000.

That sum would mean surgery Sophie could have the operation when she turns three on January 11 next year, instead of having to wait until she is four-years-old.

The extra funding will fund crucial post-operative physiotherapy and equipment.

That target was soon smashed too.

“It’s been overwhelming,” said Allison, of Dukinfield.

“It’s not just the funding, it’s the letters and touching messages too, it has just been amazing.”

As we went to press Sophie’s online fundraising page had received 1,595 donations to produce a combined total of £48,407.71.

“Not a lot of people know about the operation,” said Allison, 40, who also has a son Lewis, 14, with her husband Craig, 44.

“Even some GP’s don’t know about it, so if anyone is in a similar situation I would say don’t give up, get yourself known and have faith in the public because they will help.

“So to everyone who has helped, from the Tameside Reporter, to people from Tameside and to people as far as Singapore and Australia, thank you to everybody.

“It’s been amazing and I won’t be stopping here, I want to carry on helping others in a similar situation.”

“I can’t wait for the day until I hold Sophie’s hand and have to say to her ‘stop running off’ – it’s going to be amazing.”