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Liverpool region ‘Ballerina Steps’ girl needs £60K for operation

November 23, 2010

A youngster condemned to walk on tiptoes like a ballerina could take her first normal steps at the age of seven.

Little Ariella Byrne has a condition that permanently contracts her leg muscles and doctors warned she would never walk normally.

But now the girl’s mother has launched a race against time to raise #60,000 for an operation that will free Ariella from her “ballerina steps” syndrome.

Brave Ariella uses a walking frame to get about but can take only a few steps at time because of her condition.

The youngster, who is an avid Strictly Come Dancing fan, suffers from a form of Spastic Diplegia that has seen her undergo a series of operations and she has to wear leg splints.

However, there is real hope that the Ariella may be cured after she was accepted for a programme of pioneering surgery and treatment in America.

But the operation – available only in St Louis, Missouri – can go ahead only if the money can be raised within five months.

Mum Suzan Byrne, 45, said: “Ariella is at an age when she wants to be playing with her friends.

“She frequently gets visits from the children of neighbours asking if she wants to play but it is out of the question because she cannot manage on her own.

“She’s a bright and beautiful little girl. She desperately wants to dance, let alone walk, but without this operation I fear her childhood will slip away and she will not fulfil her dream.”

The Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy treatment, developed at St Louis Children’s Hospital, Missouri, has a 100 per cent success rate in correcting the disorder among children of Amelia’s age.

It reduces spasticity in the legs of victims by eliminating faulty signals being sent from the brain through the spine.

Suzan, of Bebington, Wirral, added: “Ariella has lovely long legs but because of her condition she cannot put her feet flat on the floor.

“She walks on tiptoe with the help of the frame, but I want my beautiful little girl to walk, run and dance and to fulfil her dreams like other children.

“Ariella loves Strictlly Come Dancing and her real ambition is to be able to dance that the ladies on television.

“The operation in America holds out the hope that she might be able to fulfil her dreams and I am determined to do everything possible to giver her that chance.”

A national charity, Cauldwell Children, is backing the fund-raising campaign for Ariella’s treatment for Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy in the USA.

Cauldwell Children spokesman Ben Sutcliffe said: “This operation can transform Ariella’s life and therefore we are offering our full support to her family’s fund-raising campaign.

“Together, we need to raise a lot of money in a short period of time to give Ariella the independence she deserves. It is truly a race against time.”