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Staplehurst youngster Eliana Farragher has US surgery that could change her life

A toddler who was born with a form of cerebral palsy hopes to have her life completely changed thanks to surgery in the US.

Eliana Farragher was born prematurely at 32 weeks in 2013, but is now expecting an early Christmas present thanks to donations of more than £85,000.

The two-year-old from Staplehurst travelled to St Louis, Missouri to have a spinal operation called selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR), which could eliminate the problems with her legs, allowing her to walk without aids, pain or difficulty.

Eliana with her mum Catherine Farragher
Eliana with her mum Catherine Farragher

Now, doctors have told her mum that she could be running by Christmas.

Mum Catherine, a teaching assistant from Headcorn Road, said: “She had the operation on Tuesday, and doctors think they have eliminated the problems. Obviously she’s very fragile still so it’s bed rest for the next five days or so.”

Her parents have been working tirelessly to raise the money needed, with fundraisers in Eliana’s honour including Staplehurst’s Littlefest and St Ronan’s School in Hawkhurst creating a charity single.

The video for the song, a cover of Keane’s Somewhere Only We Know, features Eliana’s 10-year-old sister Alicia Stimpson, who attends the Water Lane school.

The worry is unfortunately not over for the family, as they recently found out 14-month old son Charlie also has cerebral palsy. Although he can’t be screened properly until he is two, early indications suggest he would be a good candidate for the same treatment.

Mrs Farragher wanted to thank everyone who has donated and has changed her daughter’s life for the better, but wanted to make it clear that the family’s is not a unique case.

Eliana features in the video from Saint Ronan's School, being held by her older sister Alicia Stimpson
Eliana features in the video from Saint Ronan's School, being held by her older sister Alicia Stimpson

“It’s not just my children, there are other children locally, but it’s also about raising awareness,” she explained.

“We stumbled upon this operation after being told there was nothing that doctors could do. If it helps one family who see our story and think ‘they did it, we can do it too’ then it’s all been worth it.”

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