Stalybridge toddler to meet stateside doctors hoping to find her cure
Friday 15th September 2017 @ 14:33 by Tom Greggan
News Stalybridge Tameside

A Stalybridge toddler with a life-limiting disease is heading Stateside to meet the doctors who are hoping to find a cure.

Three-year-old Florence Croce suffers from Late-Infantile Gangliosidosis, or GM1, a disorder that progressively destroys nerve cells in the brain and spinal chord and has no known cure.

However, doctors at a veterinary hospital in Alabama, has found a cure in animals. It’s hoped clinical trials in humans can take place next year and Florence’s family have been fundraising since her diagnosis in November to secure a place on the trials.

So far, a fantastic £36,000 has been raised and Florence’s mum Jenny is taking her daughter to Alabama in October to meet with doctors and another family who are going through a similar experience.

Jenny ran the Salford Marathon to raise money for her daughter.

Jenny said: “We got in contact through Facebook with a family called the Braggs and they’ve got a little girl called Clara who is a couple of months younger than Florence. She was diagnosed with the same strain of GM1 as Florence, which is Late-Infantile. We just wanted to do something positive; to go and meet them.

“They live about two hours away from Auburn, which is where the vetinary clinic is. The doctor there is called Professor Martin and he’s the one that’s found the cure in animals. We’re going to see him at the same time. It’ll be a really great experience to go and meet him as well. It’s not going to guarantee anything but it means we are that one step closer. I think anything positive that we can do, we should.”

Jenny has been in constant communication with the Braggs after they initially got in touch via Facebook. “It’s amazing to speak to people who are going through the same experience,” Jenny said. “They know exactly what they’re going through, especially parents. I’ve had so much support but I think only people who are also going through can know exactly how you’re feeling and how devastating it is.

“I’m also friends with some of her extended family, so I feel like I already know them and I’ve not even met them! To see Florence and Clara playing together will just be amazing.”

Meanwhile, fundraising for Florence is continuing. During September, the GM1 Foundation are challenging everyone to walk and run for a child with GM1 and donate the sponsorship money in that child’s name. Jenny took part in the Salford 10K on September 3rd and also has something special planned for a milestone birthday in January.

She said: “In January, my twin brother and I turn 40 so we’re going to do a skydive! That’s got the potential to raise quite a lot of money. Our mum isn’t too happy about it though!”

If you’d like to donate to the GM1 Foundation on behalf of Team Florence, please visit https://www.crowdrise.com/team-florence-from-manchester-united-kingdom.