Hartlepool family’s £35,000 bid to help little girl walk

Dottie O'Keefe
Dottie O'Keefe

A Hartlepool family are trying to raise £35,000 to help their little girl walk.

Adorable Dottie O’Keefe has cerebral palsy and needs a life-changing operation to her spine to help her walk independently.

Three-year-old Dottie O'Keefe with mum Helen Noon.

Three-year-old Dottie O'Keefe with mum Helen Noon.

They are trying to raise the money themselves as the specialist procedure is currently not funded by the NHS.

Dottie’s mum Helen Noon, 24, of Rossmere, Hartlepool, has set up a crowdfunding webpage to try to hit the target and help Dottie take her next steps.

And town charity Miles For Men have thrown their backing behind the campaign, and are organising a mass bungee jump at Hartlepool marina next month.

Helen said: “At the moment, Dottie can’t walk or stand because the muscles in her legs are too tight.

“But if she has this operation she should be able to walk and do more things independently.

“She gets frustrated, she has a little sister running about and everything.

“Dottie has a walking frame but she can’t do it for long periods of time.

“She uses twice as much energy as we do. She tries to walk but her body won’t let her.”

Dottie was born 15 weeks prematurely and weighed just 1lb 9oz.

At just a few weeks old she suffered a severe bleed to her brain which caused her to have cerebral palsy, especially down her right side.

But Helen, also mum to one-year-old Connie, said Dottie has fought through everything that has been thrown at her, including meningitis.

She has battled through intense physiotherapy for the last three years but is still not able to stand or walk unaided.

Helen added: “She suffers through pain every day to do even simple things as well as constant spasms in her legs.”

Helen said there are many other children in the same situation as Dottie. Despite the procedure not being funded on the NHS, Helen was quick to praise the health service.

“They have done miracles for her already,” she said. “If it wasn’t for them Dottie wouldn’t be here.”

If Dottie’s family can raise the money, she will travel to Leeds for the operation.

lIf you would like to make a donation go to the website at https://www.gofundme.com/lets-change-dotties-life