THE fund to send a Hartlepool student for clinical trials abroad has reached a staggering £25,000.
The Save a Hart Campaign was launched after town 16-year-old Georgia Hart was diagnosed with a rare and potentially life-threatening condition called Freidreich’s Ataxia (FA).
Her fellow students, along with residents and businesses from all over the town, embarked on numerous fundraising crusades to raise the money that Georgia needs to send her for pioneering treatment abroad, as there is currently no known cure for the illness.
A target of £30,000 was set, and just over a year later there is a stunning £25,000 in the kitty.
Georgia’s mum Bev Hart, 50, head of business development at New College Durham, is delighted with the figure and is now trying to find the most appropriate clinical trial for her precious daughter, with one in Philadelphia, in America, attracting her attention.
She said: “We are absolutely delighted , we didn’t for one minute think that we would reach anywhere near the inital target that we set, and here we are.
“It’s been fantastic really and I can’t get over the way the people in Hartlepool have responded. We’re so thankful for what everybody’s done.”
She added: “As for the trials, there is one which might be promising for Georgia in Philadelphia. It would involve between eight to 10 trips over there.
“We’re not on it yet but it’s expected to be launched in the Spring so we’ll have to apply then.”
Georgia’s former headteacher, Mark Tilling, from High Tunstall College of Science, was equally as impressed with the efforts of fundraisers.
He said: “It’s very moving to see people trying so hard to raise money to get help for Georgia.
“There’s been a combination of events but no matter how big or small the donation, every penny counts.
“Overiding it all Georgia achieved highly in her GCSEs despite finding Year 11 very hard and tiring with her condition. She is now studying for her A-Levels and is achieving despite the odds. She is moving on with life but we will be there to support her and the campaign where we can.”
There has been a string of events held to rake in the much-needed cash including Jailed For Georgia which saw three police officers lock up a High Tunstall teacher in every police station in the country, non-uniform days at the Elwick Road school, and sponsored events such as hair chops. Kind-hearted people have even simply left donations.
Pretty Georgia, from Naisberry Park, had lived a relatively normal and healthy life until routine checks revealed she was suffering with the condition, which is a progressive, inherited disease that attacks and damages the central nervous system resulting in co-ordination and balance problems.
The currently incurable illness - which affects just one in 50,000 people - has left brave Georgia with painful curvature of the spine, severe fatigue, and also on daily medication to prevent heart disease. Her symptoms could get progressively worse as she gets older.
Georgia, who is now a student at Hartlepool Sixth Form College, takes at least 10 tablets a day, and has regular appointments with heart, spine, eyes, and bone specialists, and weekly physiotherapy treatment.
And any extra cash that is raked in will be donated to FA UK - a British charity which is carrying out research into the condition.
Anyone who would like to donate towards the cause should visit the Hart family’s secure online page where donations can be made at http://www.shareagift.com/giftpageforgeorgiahart.