Leonie’s life-changing surgery moves closer to reality

Leonie (6) and her family alongside Carol Garside, Co-op Store Manager who helped to organise the walk, Phil Cooper, Co-op Area Manager, and Co-op colleagues.
Leonie (6) and her family alongside Carol Garside, Co-op Store Manager who helped to organise the walk, Phil Cooper, Co-op Area Manager, and Co-op colleagues.

Leonie Hadley-Wilkinson, the six-year-old who desperately needs life-changing surgery in her battle with severe cerebral palsy, has moved nearer her vital operation – thanks to a huge donation from Co-op food stores across the region.

Leonie’s mum, Vicky, thanked the Co-op for their ‘incredible’ donation of £4,500, which has been raised through various events, most notably a 25-mile sponsored walk between stores in Sutton on Sea, Mablethorpe, Manby and Louth.

Leonie Hadley-Wilkinson (6).

Leonie Hadley-Wilkinson (6).

Many Lincolnshire stores have taken part in the fundraising, in addition to others from further afield, including stores in the Grantham, Nottingham and Peterborough areas. Carol Garside, the Co-op store manager in Newmarket, Louth, said: “The whole team was moved by the appeal, with colleagues from the area and further afield all keen to help.

“Together, we have been able to support Leonie’s family and contribute to the cost of the operation and after-care which could potentially change the life of this lovely little girl, and her family who live in our community.

“We would like to say a ‘huge thank you’ to our colleagues, friends and families and, our members and customers who have contributed to this cause.”

Vicky told the Leader: “The Co-op’s support has been overwhelming. They made a huge difference to making maybe a miracle happen.”

However, she added there is still a long way to go, as the costs of the Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) operation followed by two years of specialist physiotherapy - neither of which are covered by the NHS - are expected to reach £60,000 in total.

So far, more than £22,000 has been raised thanks to the generosity of businesses and individuals in the Louth area and beyond.

In September, a major fundraising event organised by Leonie’s family will be aiming to raise thousands towards Leonie’s operation - but it will only be viable if members of the public buy enough tickets in the next couple of weeks.

A ‘Rock and Motown Night’ will take place at Louth Town Hall on Saturday September 15, from 7.30pm onwards, and will feature local band the B12 Hundreds and headline act Funktion & Co, in addition to an auction, a raffle, and a guest appearance from the Comic Book Heroes.

Tickets cost £15 per person, or £5 each for children under the age of 12.

Purchase your tickets from Rose on 07730 575494 or from Vicky directly at littlevickybrit@live.co.uk.

There are also some tickets still available for the fundraising ‘Rumble Ball’ at the Beachcomber in Cleethorpes on Friday September 21, including a two course meal, silent auction, raffle, disco, and the legendary Rumble Band.

Book tickets (£30 each) by calling 01472 812666 or visiting www.lincolnshirecerebralpalsy.org.uk.

• Support Leonie’s appeal by visiting www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/just4children/teamleonie.