A DESPERATE expat couple have launched a campaign to raise funds to help their five-year-old daughter walk.
Dad Vlatko Pesaro and mum Vera, are appealing to the public to fund their only hope of treating little Irene, who has cerebral palsy – a neurological disorder that affects movement, motor skills, and muscles.
The La Linea-based parents have set up a GoFundMe page to raise the €52,500 needed for the procedure, called Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) which destroys problematic nerve roots in the spinal cord.
The family hope to have it carried out at the St Louis Speciality Children’s Hospital in the US, where ‘one of the top 10 neurosurgeons in the world’ works.
“This sum is unattainable for our family,” Vlatko, who works in Gibraltar as an electrician, told the Olive Press.
“Irene can’t play with other kids or go to the toilet. She has a helper with her constantly at school and she feels rejected by other kids.”
The dad-of-one from Switzerland said the procedure is fairly new and highly risky but the Missouri centre has a high SDR success rate.
His daughter would be able to walk unassisted one week after.
Meanwhile, Spanish doctors have warned it will take years before she can receive treatment in Spain, in which time Irene’s condition would get severely worse.
The tot was diagnosed with CPD – spastic diplegia cerebral palsy – at 15 months old.
Since that day Vlatko and wife Vera – from Bulgaria – have tried everything from rehabilitation, to orthopedic casts, to botox, to wearing splints. But Irene still cannot walk alone.
Despite this, her parents describe her as ‘extremely positive’ and ‘clever’.
Vlatko added: “Our only wish is that we want Irene to be able to walk to school independently on her first day, like any other child.”