Sheffield academy helps smash fundraising target for little Lilia

Firth Park Academy dodge ball fundraiser
Firth Park Academy dodge ball fundraiser
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Students and staff at a Sheffield academy have helped raise £15,000 to support the child of one of its teachers.

The little daughter of Firth Park Academy’s teacher of Spanish Amy Fynn faces a number of challenges.

Lilia, who is almost two years old, had a turbulent start to life after her heart stopped beating immediately after birth. She was deprived of oxygen for over 10 minutes and it was five days before her mum could hold her daughter for the first time.

When their daughter was five months old, Amy and husband Liam were told that she had Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy, affecting all her limbs and body. Amy and Liam were also told that Lilia would never walk.

Amy’s colleagues and pupils at Firth Park Academy were keen to help the family when they learned that a specially adapted trike could help Lilia, along with a new treatment called ‘Therasuit’ therapy. A three-week course of daily four-hours of therapy while wearing a space suit, coupled with oxygen therapy, could cost in the region of £15,000.

An appeal to help Lilia’s family meet the expense of the trike, costing up to £6,000, and the new therasuit treatment to give her every chance of future mobility, has been supported strongly by the academy.

A whole variety of fundraising events held in school resulted in a sum of over £2,000 to be added to Lilia’s fund. These included cake auctions and sales, a staff inter-department dodgeball tournament and a talent show. Olympic swimmer Darcy Deakin, who left Firth Park Academy this summer, did a sponsored swim with the daughter of another teacher, eight-year old Amelia Hartley, and together they raised £600.

A fun day last weekend run by friends of the Finns amassed the final sum to top the fund up to the £15,000 needed for Lilia’s therapy.

Amy, 32, said: “The fundraising went crazy as soon as people got to know how much the treatment for Amy would cost.

“We did think it was only available in America but in fact it is here in Harrogate now, and hopefully Lilia can have the three-weeks therapy in February next year. She will be about the right age then to cope with it.”

She continued: “We’ve been blown away by people’s generosity. We didn’t expect such a response and are very grateful. My school has been so supportive and the atmosphere during fundraising events was amazing, really wonderful.

“When your child needs help you will do anything you can to help them, and we are keen to give Lilia every chance possible. I can’t thank people enough for helping us to do that.”

Any surplus money within the fund will help towards ongoing treatment for Lilia. The therasuit session will need repeating as an ongoing therapy in future months.

“It’s not a quick cure treatment,” explained Amy. “But it’s had good results and hopefully will spark some reaction with Lilia. We can only try.”

The pioneering couple in America who developed the therapy for their own child with cerebral palsy have recommended the Harrogate clinic to the Finns, dispelling any doubt they had initially about America being the best bet for Lilia.

“The treatment being local makes it a great deal easier for us to do this”, added Amy.

“Lilia has an ongoing physiotherapy programme but this will add to that.”