A TEENAGER battling a rare and potentially life-threatening condition is delighted to already have £8,500 in a fundraising kitty to help get her to America for pioneering treatment.
The £30,000 fundraising drive for Hartlepool schoolgirl Georgia Hart kicked off when her family received shock news that was suffering with Freidreich’s Ataxia (FA) following routine checks.
The progressive, inherited disease which affects just one in 50,000 people attacks and damages the central nervous system resulting in co-ordination and balance problems, painful curvature of the spine, severe fatigue, and also on daily medication to prevent heart disease.
So far, High Tunstall College of Science, where she is a pupil, has raked in a whopping £2,500 from pupils and parents, while Georgia’s family, friends and even strangers have collected around £6,000 in her name.
The drive – which her pals have nicknamed “Save a Hart” – hopes to raise the huge cash sum to enable Georgia to attend clinical trials in America where more is known about the condition.
Today Georgia’s mum Bev Hart, 50, of Naisberry Park, Hartlepool, said she was thrilled at the generosity of people.
The head of business development at New College Durham, who is married to Geoff, 50, a retired police officer, said: “We’ve had a fantastic response by friends, family, local businesses and people we didn’t even know prior to the campaign.
“It’s far outreached and exceeded our expectations and we’re delighted that the current total stands at about £8,000.”
She added: “Georgia is surprised and very grateful, she’s blown away by it all.”
And Mark Tilling, headteacher at High Tunstall, echoed Bev’s sentiments and said he was really pleased with how the fundraising campaign was coming along.
He said: “The amount High Tunstall has raised has been a combination of straight donations from the general public and the rest from pupils at the school.
“They’ve done raffles, a collection at Hartlepool United Football Club, the choir has brought in money while they’ve been out and about, we’ve had a fair and we raised money on our awards night. It’s going very well.”
The currently incurable illness has also left brave Georgia taking at least 10 tablets a day, and she has regular appointments with heart, spine, eyes, and bone specialists, and weekly physiotherapy treatment.
Her symptoms could get progressively worse as she gets older.
Any extra cash that is raked in will be donated to FA UK – a British charity which is carrying out research into the condition.
And in a bid to help, Mr Tilling is urging anyone who wants to donate funds, or carry out fundraising activities for Georgia, to contact the school on (01429) 261446.
The Hart family have also set up a secure online page where donations can be made at http://www.shareagift.com/giftpageforgeorgiahart