THE FAMILY of a Caldicot tot who need to raise £40,000 for a pioneering operation to help her walk on her own are hoping people will wear a specially-made wristband supporting the appeal.

Catherine Ashwell-Rice, of Lapwing Avenue, said she has been overwhelmed by support from the communitylocal businesses, organisations and individuals, including a Caldicot family, at fundraising events and by donating 100 raffle prizes towards helping her daughter Imogen Ashwell-Lewis.

Ms Ashwell-Rice, 36, launched the Help Imogen Walk campaign through the Tree of Hope charity so that the two-year-old, can have a radical procedure to save her from relying on a wheelchair.

Imogen suffers a debilitating nerve-muscle condition known as spastic diplegia cerebral palsy, which means she walks on her toes, has stiffness in her legs and poor balance and co-ordination.

The mum-of-eight hopes a procedure called selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) will help avoid further deterioration and stiffness. The Free Press is backing the appeal, which has raised £1,559.50 in the first three weeks.

Ms Ashwell-Rice said the wristbands, available from Bargain Booze, the Cross public house, Caldicot, Belles Beauty Salon, Caldicot and the National Diving and Activity Centre, near Chepstow for a minimum donation of £1, are the idea of her siblings. She said: “Imogen loves wristbands and always plays with them when her brother wears them so we thought it would be lovely to sell them for the fund.”

Among those to lend their support are Claire Davis, her partner Mark Cochrane and their son Harvey, nine, of Caldicot, who raised £268 at the Severn View Social Club on Saturday.

Harvey, who attends Durand Primary, Caldicot, collected £168 in a bucket collection and the couple, who own Caldi Castle Hire, auctioned a Samsung Galaxy tablet for £100 and are also lending their bouncy castle for the fun day.

There is also a raffle with over 100 prizes that will be drawn at a funday. The next fundraiser is a bucket collection around pubs in Chepstow from 8.30pm on February 22. A wear a onesie to school day at St Mary’s RC Primary in Chepstow will be this Friday, a ladies afternoon at Severn View Club, Caldicot, on March 7, a charity fun day at Playbarn, Caldicot on March 22 and a family fun day at Severn View Club, Caldicot.

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