Lancaster teenagers may be able to walk again unaided

Katie and Emma Sutcliffe
Katie and Emma Sutcliffe have a form of cerebral palsy. Photo: The Twins Appeal

Teenagers Katie and Emma Sutcliffe, from Lancaster, could soon see their dream of being able to walk unaided realised.

The 15-year-old twins both have spastic diplegic cerebral palsy and need wheelchairs to get around as the condition causes stiffness and pain in their legs.

However the girls' family and friends have launched The Twins Appeal to raise funds to pay for life-changing operations in the US to help them walk.

It is being supported by Caudwell Children, a national charity based in Stoke-on-Trent, which is committed to changing the lives of children by providing specialist equipment, treatment and therapy.

Events will be held to help raise the £85,000 to pay for selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) procedures and physiotherapy for the girls at St Louis Children's Hospital, in Missouri.

SDR involves cutting some of the sensory nerve fibres that come from the muscles and enter the spinal cord to reduce tightness in the muscles and make it easier to walk.

The twins' mother, Caroline Sutcliffe, said: "This condition is both physically and emotionally difficult for the girls. They are teenagers and simply want to be just that, but sadly their lives are not at all like those of their peers.

"The girls' social activities are very limited, and this causes them much distress, as they just want to be like any other normal teenagers. After all these years, and never thinking the girls would ever be able to get any help for their condition, we were delighted when we found out about the SDR treatment as now there is hope."

Caudwell Children chief executive officer, Trudi Beswick, said: "We really believe in the difference SDR treatment can make to a child's life and want to help in any way we can to get Katie and Emma and other children and young people with cerebral palsy the treatment they need."

To support the appeal visit at www.justgiving.com/thetwinsappeal or call 01782 600867.