A KIDDERMINSTER family has been “overwhelmed” by donations to their £32,000 appeal for severely autistic twin girls to undergo pioneering stem cell treatment in Panama.

Around £5,700 has been raised in just six months for four-year-olds Summer and Meadow Lockey to have the therapy which is not yet available in the UK to improve their quality of life.

A further £6,100 has been donated to their Give Us a Hand page.

The twins are both non-verbal and live in Grays, Essex, with mum Jade, originally from Kidderminster, and dad John.

Aunt and uncle Sinead and Mario Maffei, of Yew Tree Road, are leading the appeal with the help of other family members and friends across the town.

Mrs Maffei, who accompanied them to Panama City for the first course of treatment last month said: “It’s heart-breaking to see how daily life is such a struggle for them.

“The work carried out at the Stem Cell Institute in Panama has brought about miracles in children with similar conditions to Summer and Meadow, enabling them to talk, communicate and rid themselves of the terrible meltdowns that torture autistic children and make life almost unbearable for parents.

“After just one set of stem cell injections, Meadow hasn’t had a single meltdown, is calmer, more affectionate, following instructions better and sleeping all night.

"Summer has improved tenfold, has started asking a few questions and they are playing together for the first time.”

The treatment alone costs £16,000 per child, with two more visits to the institute planned.

A series of fundraisers have been held, including two quizzes and a charity concert featuring local singers and dancers.

A £2,200 donation has come from Vickie’s Wish, a fund set up to help good causes in memory of Vickie Harvey, from Kidderminster, who died from leukaemia, aged 24.

Mrs Maffei, who raised £230 for the appeal in Birmingham’s Big Fun 5K Run, added: “The response has been overwhelming – everyone has been so generous, I can’t tell you how much it means to the family.

“We’re so grateful to all those who have helped so far, including their dad’s employer DHL which has raised £3,000, Vax at Droitwich have contributed, individuals have donated, run raffles, cakes sales and so on.”

There will be collections during the Nonentities production of Roald Dahl’s The Witches at Kidderminster’s Rose Theatre from November 26 to December 1.

More events are being planned for the new year and donations can be made online at meadowandsummer.com