Stoke & Staffordshire

Soldier mother's bid to raise daughter surgery funds

L/Cpl Alex Holt with daughter Emma
Image caption Emma suffers from spastic diplegia, a form of cerebral palsy

A Stafford soldier, whose daughter suffers from a form of cerebral palsy, has been raising money to pay for life-changing surgery.

L/Cpl Alex Holt, 22, has raised 10% of the £40,000 needed to pay for surgery in America for her daughter Emma.

The two-year-old suffers from spastic diplegia, a condition which prevents her from walking properly.

She was diagnosed in September 2009 just as L/Cpl Holt was deploying out to Afghanistan.

While on tour, L/Cpl Holt, of 22 Signal Regiment, based at Beacon Barracks, MoD Stafford, found out about an operation that could drastically improve her daughter's quality of life.

Selective dorsal rhizotomy involves severing nerves in the spinal canal, releasing the tight muscles.

'Really happy'

L/Cpl Holt, who commanded a team of HQ radio operators in Helmand, said: "This operation will make such a difference to Emma's life. It will allow her to walk more or less normally and giver her the freedom to do more activities.

"At the moment she has to be in a stander and a sitting frame for an hour at a time. She is a really happy girl but the constant hospital appointments are unpleasant.

"There is no total cure and she will still need physiotherapy, but it will be one appointment every four months instead of every three weeks."

She has organised a number of fundraising events including a raffle, sponsored run and charity calendar with the help of family and friends to bring her closer to her goal.

"I am extremely committed to the Army and work full time," she said.

"I will be away on exercises and courses throughout the year and a bit further down the line will have a second tour in Afghanistan.

"I am lucky to have support from family and friends but the operation would really ease the burden in that sense too."

She added that leaving Emma to go to Afghanistan for six months had been difficult but she decided to go to do the job she had trained to do.

She said: "I was a little bit in shock at the time.

"It was my job at the end of the day and I needed the money.

"I also concentrated on coming to terms with it while I was away."

She said her mother had to look after Emma and update her on how she was doing via telephone.

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