CHRISTMAS for two Carnoustie girls will mean more this year than just toys and sweeties.
For Ayley and Chloe Hirsch, who suffer from a form of cerebral palsy which has left their ability to walk seriously impaired, the festive season is a step closer to a life changing operation.
Mum, Averil said: “We’re very excited about Christmas. We’re all counting the sleeps as New Year is soon after and then it’s not long until we head off.”
On January 6, Ayley and Chloe, along with parents Averil and Frazer will fly out to St Louis, Missouri, to have a selective dorsal rhizotomy carried out.
The operation will be carried out at St Louis Children’s Hospital by paediatric neurosurgeon Dr T.S. Park, who has been performing this operation for the last 20 years.
On January 9 the twins will meet Dr Park for the first time for a pre-operation assessment, and then the next day the procedure will be carried out.
Averil said: “We have a lot of positivity as a family and we know that the girls will benefit hugely.
“Dr Park is doing the operations at the same time so that they recover together.
“It’s not the first time he’s done twins at the same time.”
At the moment the girls are undergoing regular physiotherapy for an hour a week with Mike Poole of MP Fitness, a personal trainer who specialises in cases of cerebral palsy.
Averil said: “He has dealt with 12 other youngsters who have had the operation. He knows all they need to keep them going before and after surgery.
“Chloe has really come on and Ayley is getting her walking sorted.
“We are aware they need to be strong for the operation so it’s a shorter recovery time.”
The final total of funds raised for the ‘Help Ayley and Chloe Walk’ campaign was £175,436, an amount which continues to amaze Averil.
She said: “This was raised in the space of eight months.
“It’s just phenomenal. I just don’t have the words, I’m speechless.
“Me and Frazer didn’t think we’d have raised the £80,000 by this time, let alone anything like this. It’s all down to the support of people in Carnoustie, Arbroath, Dundee, Aberdeen, Newcastle, all over really. We’ve had well-wishers from Turkey and Oman, it’s just been absolutely amazing.”