The £10,000 target to help a mentally and physically disabled Buxton girl receive intensive therapy has been smashed in just months thanks to the kindness of the community.
Lola Thomas, 10, is a medical miracle - she was born with a condition so rare that at one time only 20 people in the world had it, and she has defied the odds as doctors could not give her a life expectancy.
Her family, of Macclesfield Road, wanted to raise £10,000 to get her intensive dolphin therapy, and thanks to generous fundraising and donations £11,300 has been donated, with more still to come.
Mum Colleen said: “I cannot believe it. People have been so very generous. Complete strangers have been handing me money in the street just to help Lola get the treatment she needs.
“Both myself and husband Hugh had thought it would take years to raise this much money, and were already planning big fundraisers for next year. We never dreamed it could be done in months.”
Lola was born with a very rare chromosome disorder known as Kleefstra syndrome where the tip of a chromosome is missing. This had led to a life of medical complications, undergoing heart surgery at five-months-old, epilepsy and severe bowel problems. She is also a non-verbal child.
After cakes sales, Tough Mudder and donations from the community the family were at £9,000, but a recent fundraiser in Manchester, where Colleen has family, tipped the total to £11,300. Colleen said: “We can’t thank each and every one of you enough. This money will go so far and help improve the quality of life for our little girl.” Lola is now provisionally booked in at Dolphin Therapy Marmaris in Turkey for May 2017.
During her 14-day stay she will spend 12 one-hour sessions with the dolphins and receive intensive brain and muscle therapy.
Colleen stressed: “This isn’t a holiday - it will be long days that will push Lola so much - but we hope the benefits will have a lasting impact.
“She has physiotherapy every day at Peak School and twice a week she has hydrotherapy, but this will be so much more intense.”
She added: “This really is a dream come true and it couldn’t have happened without everyone getting behind Lola, so thank-you all so much.”