Hopes Mimi will walk as crucial surgery is success

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A BRAVE nine-year-old from is getting ready to return to school after a crucial operation in America.

Amelia Simpson, from Wendover who suffers from cerebral palsy, is back in the UK after a life-changing operation in Missouri.

Her family hope she will soon be able to walk with the aid of a stick – but they still face a huge fundraising battle to pay for her continuing treatment.

Earlier this year, Amelia’s family was left reeling after the NHS said it would not pay for the process, known as Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy, in the UK.

Instead the family was forced to book an appointment in America, raising a whopping £75,000 in just three months – including a £25,000 anonymous donation.

Dad Russell Simpson told the Herald: “The operation has been a success, but she’s going to need a lot more physio.

“Now they’re talking about her being able to walk around with one stick, and around the home without any sticks at all. That’s amazing news for us.

“She’s in a lot less pain since the operation.”

The Wendover Middle School pupil, of Castle Park Road, has endured horrendous pain as her bones were growing, but her muscles were not.

She is now set for two years of intensive physiotherapy, at the end of which experts are hopeful Amelia, who currently uses a wheelchair, will be able to walk with sticks.

Russell, 49, said: “She looks pleased that her feet are flat on the floor, so she’s in less pain.

“She’s her normal bubbly self, she takes everything in her stride.

“While everyone is worried about her, she keeps on saying: ‘Don’t worry’.

“It’s another operation for her, she’s quite used to it.

“It’s just a shame she had to travel to America to do it, when you think that they’re going to spend £35billion on HS2, imagine what that money could do for the NHS.”

A failed appeal against a ruling by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), which had ruled Amelia – affectionately known as Mimi – meant the youngster was forced to travel to America for the surgery.

Russell said he was delighted with the response from the community, after the family’s plight was highlighted.

He said: “It shows people are still willing to do nice things for each other.

“The community in Wendover has been brilliant, and her school has been amazing.”

> For details on how you can help, go to www.mimismission.co.uk

The site contains account details for donors to help out.