Otterbourne family says thanks as they reach target for daughter's life-changing surgery

Hampshire Chronicle: Andrew Syvret (left), his wife Jo (right) and their family have been battling for months to raise £90,000 for their daughter Jemima (centre) Andrew Syvret (left), his wife Jo (right) and their family have been battling for months to raise £90,000 for their daughter Jemima (centre)

A HAMPSHIRE family who raised over £100,000 for their daughter’s life-changing surgery have said: Thank you.

Jo and Andrew Syvret have been battling for their six-year-old daughter Jemima by hosting charity balls, running triathlons, rowing the Isle of Wight and, more recently, hosting a children’s tea party at their local village hall.

The Otterbourne family have worked hard for the last six months so their daughter can undergo a specialist operation to help her eventually walk unaided.

Jo said: “We just want to say a massive thank you to everyone who has contributed. We have been overwhelmed by the support from family and friends and businesses who have helped us.

“We want to give a special mention to Hendy Ford who so generously donated the car for auction and to Barker Mill, to all those who rowed around the Isle of Wight with Andrew, to everyone who helped organise the ball and to our community for putting together the village hall party. There are just so many people who have made this possible.

“We also want to thank the Echo readers and all the help we have received with the publicity of our campaign.”

The Hiltingbury Infant School pupil was born with quadriplegia, a form of cerebral palsy, which has meant she will have to undergo a selective dorsal rhizotomy that will take place at the St Louis Children’s Hospital in Missouri on March 18.

Once the family returns Jemima will face months of hydro- and physiotherapy – all of which has come at a costly £90,000.

The family have seen no end of generosity towards their worthy cause. When their story was first reported in the Echo, the Barker-Mill Foundation stepped forward and donated £10,000 and, more recently, Hampshire car retailers Hendy Ford, donated a Fiesta Zetec to be auctioned at their charity ball earlier this month.

Dad Andrew rowed around the Isle of Wight with friends, doubling their target to over £40,000, and Brother Oli ran a triathlon last October raising £1,500, while mum Jo made footstep bracelets making over £1,000.

The children’s tea party on Sunday (February 23) was hosted by their family and friends and saw a few hundred pounds extra raised – a little more to add to the pot that has taken them well over half a year to pull together.

Jo added: “This type of surgery varies so much from child to child and Jemima is a very severe case. There will be a significant change after the surgery and all the therapy and it will reduce the need for her to have further surgery later in life.

“This isn’t a miracle cure – Jemima will probably still need a frame or a walking stick but this gives her a better chance of being independent of having 24 hour care and possibly even living on her own one day.”

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