THE parents of a four-year-old Kidderminster girl who struggles to walk are raising funds for private post-operation care to help her "dance like a princess".
Chanelle Robertson has mild diplegic cerebral palsy and is having an operation to remove 65 per cent of nerves in a section of her spine to help her walk more easily.
Her parents Jodie and Stephen Robertson are fundraising to pay for private and additional physiotherapy to the after-care that the NHS will provide to give her more chance of achieving her dream of being able to run around like other children.
It is hoped Chanelle's operation, which is taking place on Friday, January 24, will help to reduce the spasticity in her legs.
Her mother Miss Robertson, 31, said: "Chanelle was 10 weeks premature and she only weighed 2 lbs 11 oz.
"She wasn't diagnosed until she was 18 months old until we could see the progress in her walking and she started to get up on her tip toes.
"Chanelle will be wheelchair dependent by the age of 20 without the operation. It will hopefully make Chanelle's feet go flat."
The St Catherine's Primary School pupil is currently reliant on walking aids and a wheelchair and struggles to walk more than 10 steps without falling over.
Miss Robertson added: "Chanelle wants to be the same as her friends, she wants to play tig with the other children and run round the playground and she wants to dance like a princess. She loves princesses.
"She's usually a really happy little girl but she does know she's different.
"When she was two, there was a programme on TV and she asked us to make her fly like a bee as she understood that her legs didn't enable her to walk very well.
"She's got an adapted trike and she loves being able to ride her bike like her big brother Jayden and she loves swimming. She's just in a body that doesn't work the way she wants it to."
Despite Chanelle having the operation on the NHS, her surgeon has advised that additional private post-operation care will aid her overall recovery.
Miss Robertson added: "We're just going to see how the fundraising goes. We're been very fortunate to be offered this operation on the NHS and we're just hoping it'll improve her mobility."
The Robertsons hope to raise about £3,000 for the care and have had help from children's charity Tree of Hope to set up their own fundraising page.
On Saturday, they held a sponsored walk from Kidderminster to Stourport and back in onesies and pyjamas which raised £1,160.
Miss Robertson added: "It went really well and we just want to thank people for the sponsorship and donations."
To donate visit justgiving.com/jodie-robertson3 or treeofhope.org.uk/dance-like-a-princess for more information.