News & events


Posted by julia on February 6, 2013 at 1:10 PM

Susanna has taken the first steps on the road to a better life, quite literally.

After undergoing a life-changing operation in the US, and with continued physiotherapy, five-year-old Susanna is now working toward being able to walk independently.

The Petersburska family begun to realise their dream toward the end of last year, when the Help Susanna Fund raised almost £170,000, far exceeding its target of £60,000. This was thanks to various generous donations and the fantastic fundraising efforts of Frankie & Benny’s restaurants.

Susanna, who had never taken a step on her own due to cerebral palsy, was then flown to St Louis in Missouri for the pioneering Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) treatment her parents had hoped for.

“The time leading up to and during the operation was stressful, as we didn’t know whether or not it was going to work,” says Susanna’s mother.

But it went well, and from the day Susanna woke up from the operation, their lives – especially Susanna’s – changed forever.

“We’ve had bad days, where sometimes the pain is overwhelming for Susanna, especially during her initial physiotherapy after the op,” continues Mrs Petersburska. “But Susanna bravely battled on, and the staff at the Children's Hospital in St Louis did everything to make her feel comfortable. Dr Park, who carried out the surgery, is an angel. He has changed the life of children with cerebral palsy for the better.”

Just a few weeks following the operation, Susanna took her first steps unaided. Although she faces a long period of challenging physiotherapy in order to walk completely independently, her parents are over the moon at what has been achieved so far.

“Now Susanna is becoming stronger and stronger,” says her mother. “She has almost daily physiotherapy at home, at school, she’s attending classes at the pool and on the bike. It’s not easy to juggle all of this while looking after your family. But when Susanna walks up to you and says ‘Come on, mommy, I will do a few more steps to you’, you know it’s been worthwhile. It's called determination, dedication and a dream coming true.

“And our dream, of Susanna being able to walk on her own permanently, could come true thanks to all of you. Thank you very much.”

Categories: Susanna's news, Fundraising goal

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