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Willow Emmison-Neal makes great progress after operation
A YOUNG girl with cerebral palsy who underwent a life-changing operation has brought her mother to tears with the progress she had made.
Willow Emmison-Neal, eight, from Skipwith, between York and Selby , has a form of cerebral palsy which affects her legs.
Her family and friends raised £60,000 to send her to the USA for operations to reduce leg muscle stiffness by cutting some of the nerve fibres in the spinal cord, and lengthened the hamstrings.
Six months on, Willow, who is undergoing frequent physiotherapy, can now walk wearing only ankle splints and no longer requires a frame.
Her mother, Sally, said Willow’s progress was made obvious at a recent wedding.
She said: “She was desperate to go to the wedding without her splints on. By the end of the day she was dancing in a ceilidh.
“At the start of the day it was difficult, but by the night she was joining in with the dancing and that was a real tear-jerker for me.”
In July, Sally competed the York Race For Life, where she walked while holding Willow’s hand for the first time.
Sally said: “We came around the corner and saw my husband, Matt, Willow and my five-year-old daughter Olive at the side of the road, which was lovely. Then Willow held my hand and my colleague Gillian’s, who has been very supportive, and Olive was on my other hand, and we crossed the finish line together. Willow wouldn’t have been able to do that without her walking frame a year ago.”
Earlier this month, The Press reported on six-year-old Noah Banks, from Eggborough, and eight-year-old James Driver, who are also waiting to undergo similar operations, and took part in a special one-mile walk at the Jane Tomlinson Run For All to help raise funds for their operations.
Willow, Olive and Sally are friends with the Banks and Driver families, and will host a cake stall at their home next week, to help raise money for their appeals.
Sally said: “We make a point of getting together and talking about things. They seem to be doing really well.
“I thought it would be important for Willow to do this because it’s not going to raise a lot of money, but she has a sense of ‘if we want something to happen, we have to make it happen’, and I love that.
“Even if we only raise a tenner for the funds, she’ll feel great about it.”
The cake stall will be held at 7 Westfield between 1pm and 3pm on Monday.