THIS is the beaming smile of Roxi Aldrich who will at last be able to undergo £50,000 life-changing surgery.
The bubbly two-year-old from New Town, Colchester, has captured the hearts of the community since her parents launched the fundraising drive to help their disabled daughter walk.
Despite the campaign only being launched last May, dad Joe, 28, said the fundraising target had been reached in time for Roxi’s third birthday on August 8.
Roxi’s operation has been booked in for September 26 and has a 100 per cent success rate.
It means she will not spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair or relying on a walking frame.
Joe said: “It is just unbelievable, we have hit the target and it’s actually now at £51,156.
“Now we have got the money we need for the operation and the money leftover is going to help Roxi in the future with all her physiotherapy and care she will need.
“That was hard getting the money, for my partner Adi and I, and the family. Now the hard work really starts for Roxi.”
Fundraising events have spanned from bake sales to a “Bush tucker” trial event based on TV’s I’m Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!
Even former Jam and Style Council star Paul Weller and Paul Jones, a member of Sixties band Manfred Mann, performed at a London gig for the cause.
The cash boost that smashed the target came thanks to organisers of Mersea Island’s Cosmic Puffin Festival and a calendar they created, which raised £6,000.
Joe said: “If it wasn’t for people in the local community we would never have been able to do it. We are incredibly grateful for everyone who has helped.”
Her parents launched the Help Roxi Walk campaign to pay for £30,000 surgery and £20,000 post-operative treatment at St Louis Hospital, in Missouri, where the operation was pioneered.
But Roxi will now be able to have the operation privately-funded in the UK.
During the course of the fundraising, Great Ormond Street Hospital started doing the surgery meaning the family won’t have the added stress of flying abroad.
After the op, Roxi will spend a week in the intensive care unit and then be transferred to the children’s ward where she will undergo intense physiotherapy treatments daily for a fortnight.
Even when she’s back home, Roxi’s physiotherapy will continue for the foreseeable future while she continues at nursery school and when she starts school.
Noticeable improvements in Roxi’s mobility may be seen between six and 24 months after the surgery.
Costs saved on the flights to the US will be spent on Roxi’s post-operative treatment.
The Grapes pub in Mersea Road, Colchester, has been supporting the Help Roxi Walk campaign and is hosting a fun day for it on August 2.
Roxi’s web pages can be found at www.helproxiwalk.co.uk or at www.facebook.com/helproxiwalk