Ilford family looking to raise £60,000 for operation to help seven-year-old Sunni walk
PUBLISHED: 07:00 19 October 2017 | UPDATED: 15:11 20 October 2017
An Ilford family is facing the daunting task of raising £60,000 in two years to fund an operation for a seven-year-old with cerebral palsy.
The operation, called selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) is used to improve spasticity (or muscle stiffness) and will improve Sunni’s movement and walking.
It is not funded by the NHS.
Sunni’s aunt, April Mehmet, describes him as “just a cheerful happy little boy who never lets his disability get him down”.
According to April, Sunni, who uses a wheelchair, wants to walk properly and has even expressed an interest in driving ambulances when he grows up. His webpage says that he “wishes to be able to jump one day”.
April, 43, a student liaison officer at a local secondary school, took on the challenge of fundraising the money two weeks ago, despite having no experience of charity work.
She said: “It’s very stressful. How people do it, I just don’t know. It’s going to be hard, but I have to do it for Sunni boy.”
She has created a donation page on Just4Children’s website, alongside Facebook page Sunniboy2019.
Just4Children, a UK charity dedicated to assisting sick children, takes no commission, meaning 100per cent of donations will go towards the operation. The procedure, which lasts four to five hours, involves severing nerves in the lower back, according to cerebralpalsy.org.uk.
Sunni’s family were informed by Great Ormond Street Hospital that the procedure works best for children under the age of 10, giving them a two-year time limit to raise the money.
Sunni’s story has already been tweeted about by Ilford South MP Mike Gapes, model Jodie Marsh, and boxer Francis Ampofo.
However April is looking for ideas, and has appealed to the public for help. She is especially interested in collaborating with local schools and businesses in her quest to help her nephew.
Sunni currently lives with his grandmother, Sefika Mustafa, 70, whom April says he “loves very dearly”.
People wanting to donate can text SUNN67 £5 to 70070.