THE FAMILY and friends of a wheelchair-bound South Warwickshire resident are desperately trying to raise enough cash for a life-changing operation.
Hollie Reilly was diagnosed with a rare genetic disease called Spino Cerebellar Ataxia Type 3 when she was 26-years-old.
The disease affects the part of the brain which controls movement, balance, co-ordination and speech and so the condition is characterised by progressive problems with movement.
As the disease is slow in its progression, Hollie, who lives in Leamington, initially experienced problems with her co-ordination and balance.
But since falling pregnant with her daughter Florence in 2021, the rate of Hollie’s deterioration has been more significant.
She has now almost completely lost the ability to walk and, aged 32, relies on a wheelchair to get around.
This has made it difficult not only for Hollie to complete every day tasks, but has meant she is not able to look after her daughter without the assistance of others.
Hollie’s husband Kane said: “Sadly, Hollie has never been able to carry our daughter whilst walking, nor will she be able to walk holding her hand as Florence learns to walk herself.
“When Florence started nursery, one of Hollie’s biggest heart aches was not being able to independently get our daughter out of the car and walk her into nursery. Instead, every morning, someone has to collect Florence from the car, something which really upsets Hollie.”
But hopefully this is all set to change. Hollie’s family has set up a JustGiving page in a bid to raise the £36,000 needed to enable Hollie to travel to Bangkok to have stem cell treatment.
Kane continued: “Everyday Hollie lives with the fear of falling whilst in our daughter’s company. This treatment will allow her to live a life with us without having to worry about the basic day-to-day tasks we all take for granted.”
Ataxia is a complex disease and, according to Hollie’s family, conventional therapies offered by the NHS do little to address the underlying condition, instead focusing on alleviating the symptoms.
A pioneering company in Bangkok, however, have developed a new stem cell therapy treatment which claims to repair motor neuron-related brain damage.
So far almost £20,000 has been raised towards the total cost needed for the operation through online donations.
Anyone who would like to donate towards Hollie’s treatment can visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/hollie-reilly