Dana’s walk to the stars

May 29th, 2011

Fifties night to raise funds for life-changing operation

A 1950s dinner dance, being held on 10 June at the Holiday Inn, Sutton, could transform the life of a 12-year-old local girl. Dana, who has cerebral palsy, needs surgery which could get her out of her wheelchair and make her more independent. The “Fifties” event, featuring Surrey Jive, is being held to raise funds for Dana’s treatment.

Dana was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when she was a year old. She is affected by spasticity, mainly in her legs, and reduced muscle tone compared with other girls of her age. Her walking is limited and, because of her mobility problems, Sera Johnston, Dana’s mother, has to help her fetch and carry, get up and down stairs. Outside the home, Dana uses a wheelchair. Without surgery, Dana will be confined to the wheelchair for the rest of her life.

Dana and Sera live in Sutton, in South London, a short journey from several of Britain’s leading hospitals. But for the operation which Dana needs, which will make her more independent, she has to travel to St Louis, Missouri, in the United States, where Dr Park, a neurosurgeon, has been having success with surgery on children with similar problems to Dana. Sera has set up Dana’s Walk to the Stars, a charity, to raise the £60,000 needed to fund the travel and Dana’s treatment. So far £20,000 has been raised.

The operation is called selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR); in a two-and-a-half-hour procedure, an opening will be made at the base of Dana’s spine, to expose the nerve-ends in the spinal column; the nerve ends will be tested individually – those which are not viable will be severed, leaving the viable nerve-ends intact. After recovery, a course of therapy will help the viable nerve-ends to come into play, and there are good prospects that Dana will be able to walk sufficiently well, that she will no longer need a wheelchair. “The operation will make her more independent,” says Sera.

The health watchdog NICE has released guidelines to recognise that SDR is an effective procedure. Primary care trusts decide whether it is justified in individual cases. But to all intents and purposes, the treatment is not yet available in the UK, for someone of Dana’s age and with her problems. One neurosurgeon working in the UK, who has been trained in the United States, will be reviewing patients who may be suitable candidates for SDR, but sadly this is only in one part of the UK.

Dana has been intensively screened, and last November a panel of experts agreed that she was a suitable candidate for surgery. Her operation has been scheduled for 4 August, leaving only two months to raise the rest of the funds needed.

At the 1950s night items up for auction include an authentic signed Chelsea FC shirt; Louis Vuitton handbag; Jaeger handbag; Nintendo Wii; rock band drum set; and Hot Diamond necklace. Raffle prizes will include: a case of wine; Next vouchers; children’s DVDs; Cook vouchers; and David Lloyd passes for four people. All funds raised will go directly to Dana’s appeal – there are no administrative costs to pay.

Tickets for the 1950s night are available from the Holiday Inn at £25 each, including welcoming drink and buffet dinner. Or email danaswalktothestars@gmail.com or call Sera Johnston on 07747 612510.

For further information about the campaign, go to www.danaswalktothestars.org.uk


Further information: Sera Johnston

E: danaswalktothestars@gmail.com M: 07747 612510

Issued for Dana’s Walk to the Stars by Words for Business


Categories: News

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  1. David Goymour

    There’s a nice piece in this week’s Sutton Advertiser, which reports that Sera and supporters have now raised £52,000 of the £60,000 needed. Nearly there!

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