Poppy appeal! – Family launch fundraiser to help little miracle who was born with no foot

Poppy Wilkinson with her mum Kirby Hackworth
Poppy Wilkinson with her mum Kirby Hackworth

LITTLE miracle Poppy Wilkinson faces years of agony unless money is found for a life-changing operation.

The battling two-year-old was born with no left foot, and no toes on her right foot, after problems developed during her mum’s pregnancy.

Poppy Wilkinson

Poppy Wilkinson

She developed amniotic band syndrome, where fibres in the womb wrap around limbs and cut off blood flow.

Despite being fitted with a prosthetic foot, she can’t always wear the false limb due to her bones poking through as she grows.

And her loving family have now launched a fundraising drive to help pay for private operations to ease her pain.

It is a miracle Poppy is even alive, after she was born premature at just 24 weeks, weighing just 1lb 10oz.

Poppy Wilkinson a few days old and in hospital

Poppy Wilkinson a few days old and in hospital

Her mum Kirby Hackworth’s waters broke at 19 weeks, and she was advised to have bed rest.

But she went into labour five weeks later and medics at the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, gave Poppy little chance of survival.

Poppy suffered a string of other conditions, including chronic lung disease and a heart murmur, and had to have blood transfusions.

At just three months old, she developed a virus and medics took the unusual step to place her on a nitrous oxide machine.

It was the turnaround that saw the little fighter on the road to recovery.

Kirby, who is studying to be a neo-natal nurse, said: “The doctors told me the quality of life of my child would be dismal.
“But she’s happy, she’s cheeky, she just adapts.”

Now, at almost three, she wears a prosthetic foot.

But as she develops, the bones in her left foot grow and start to perforate through her limb, leaving her in pain.

Poppy will need numerous bone reversal operations, where surgeons shave away the bone, as she grows.

She has already had two procedures, one in June 2012 and one last November.

But Poppy was on the waiting list for her last operation for eight months and her family don’t want her facing long periods in a wheelchair unable to wear her prosthetic foot, while waiting for surgery.

So they have launched Poppy’s Appeal to fund the procedure privately, and have planned a string of events to try and raise funds.

Kirby, 22, of Allerton Close, who thanked medics at the neo-natal unit, said: “It’s a godsend she was born when she was, because the amniotic bands could have wrapped around something else.

“She can get sore and infected, and it can leave her immobile.

“She will be going to nursery this year and we don’t want her to miss out.

“She plays with all her games, but can’t climb up things like slides.

“She hasn’t got a lot of confidence, especially around a lot of children who are running about.
“I don’t want it to affect her self-esteem as she gets older.”

To help raise funds, a children’s party will take place at The Raglan Social Club on Sunday, April 27, from noon-4pm.

There will be a bouncy castle, disco and facepainting and entry is £1 per child.

It will be a ‘welcome home’ party for Poppy’s dad Paul Wilkinson, 26, of Eston, and Poppy’s uncles Peter Talbot and Craig Berry, and family friends Michael Rennie and Ben Heke who are taking part in the Coast to Coast bike ride from Whitehaven to Roker on Friday, April 25, to raise funds for Poppy.

Anyone wishing to support Poppy can visit www.gofundme.com/6imtr0

More than £1,000 has already been donated, and Nathan Greathead and Dwane Douglas have also boosted the funds with £400 and £300 from respective events.