IT IS a life-changing operation that would make one little girl’s dream of walking normally come true.

But for nine-year-old Megan Vernon, who suffers from cerebral palsy, that dream comes at a cost – £40,000.

So she and her family from Bishopstoke have embarked on a mammoth fundraising drive and are appealing to Daily Echo readers to help Megan.

The Vernon family have just three months to raise the amount before Megan jets off to America for the pioneering surgery that will relax her leg muscles, allowing her to walk on her heels.

Diagnosed at nine months old, the condition has caused Megan’s legs to turn inwards, forcing her to walk on her toes, which causes her great pain despite an hour of physio everyday.

So when her parents, Steph and Rob, found out about this “miracle” operation, Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy, they knew it could put an end to all her pain.

The operation at St Louis Children’s Hospital in Missouri will reduce the tension in Megan’s leg muscles permanently, allowing them more freedom to move and will mean she doesn’t have to have any more operations.

Although it is available in this country, the NHS offered Megan another operation, which involves invasive surgery and would require further operations in the future.

Despite the cost, it was an easy choice for Steph and Rob, and within weeks of contacting the hospital Megan was accepted for surgery.

Steph, 45, a playschool assistant, said: “I cannot put into words how much it will mean to us to watch our daughter walk normally.

“She is such a determined little girl, but it is heartbreaking to see her suffer on a daily basis, unable to join in with her friends.

“Not only will she be able to walk properly after the operation, but it will improve her balance and co-ordination, boost her confidence and allow her to wear shoes like her sister.

“We have set up Megan’s Quest Fund to make this possible and the fantastic support we have had from our family and friends has been overwhelming. Every penny really does count.”

Megan, a pupil at Stoke Park Junior School, added: “It would be a dream come true to have this operation because I would be able to join in with what my friends are doing and ride my bike.”

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Daily Echo: ‘Join the quest to help our Megan walk proud’