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SWNS_BALLET_DUNCAN_22Read about inspirational children Tilly and Casey, who became best friends when they met at nursery, were both born prematurely, and both have perfectly healthy twins. Tilly’s family discovered she was eligible for a revolutionary procedure, known as Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy, just before Christmas, that would allow her to walk.

They needed to raise 25,000 for the OP which they thought was impossible until pal Casey stepped in to help.

SWNS_BALLET_DUNCAN_16Tilly’s Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy procedure was funded by a campaign started by Casey, five, who suffers from a form of cerebral palsy that cannot be fixed by the op. The procedure, which was carried out on May 23 at Great Ormond Street Hospital, is not currently fully available on the NHS, so cute Casey, with a little help from her mum, launched a campaign to get 25,000 people to each donate £1 to cover the cost of the pre and post-op care.


The NHS pay for the operation itself but Great Ormond Street Hospital require parents to fund the expensive rehabilitation.

But the ‘Walking Matilda’ campaign went viral, and raised £40,000 in a little over two days, meaning Tilly’s family have been able to pay for her operation, and donate the rest towards another little child’s operation.

Tilly said: “I always wanted to grow up to be a dancer or a footballer, and now I can. I can’t wait to start dancing, and I can play with my brother now too. I have Casey to thank for this. She’ll be my best friend forever.”


Mum Rachel Knowles, 41, said: “The difference is astonishing. To be told your child is never going to be able to walk unaided is something no parent should ever have to be told. But now that Tilly has had this operation, everything in our lives has improved. She’s happier than ever, and so is Matthew too. They’re forever playing out in the garden now. Tilly doesn’t get as tired, and neither do I. She still gets a bit stuck sometimes and struggles, but she’s improving all the time and it’s nowhere near as bad as it was.

“We’ve been told that in about two years, it’ll be like she never had any mobility issues.”


“And for her to be offered a place at a ballet school is just amazing. If anybody had done that this time last year, I would have thought they were making fun of us. But now Tilly’s the one making her own fun, and it’s brilliant.”

The English National Ballet School offers a range of classes and courses for children of all ages, and have offered Tilly a place in their juniors class which starts in October.



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