Dream trip to treat Amy’s illness

Amy Kennedy (front), aged 14, with her mum Zoe Kennedy, sister Lucy Kennedy, aged nine, and friend Rebecca Beresford, aged 14, at home in Wheatley Hills.
Amy Kennedy (front), aged 14, with her mum Zoe Kennedy, sister Lucy Kennedy, aged nine, and friend Rebecca Beresford, aged 14, at home in Wheatley Hills.
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DONCASTER teenager Amy Kennedy is finally set to head off to America for pioneering medical treatment.

The 14-year-old from Wheatley has faced a series of obstacles in her efforts to get to Texas to try to end her suffering from a condition called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, which has left her bedbound since November 2009.

But now the final pieces have been put into place after an airline agreed it would be able to remove seats to allow her to be put on a plane to America on a stretcher.

Her family had feared Amy would not be able to be flown out because she could not sit on a conventional seat.

At one stage they were even looking at the prices of air ambulances or the possibility of taking a military flight.

Her mum, Zoe Matters, said: “We’ve finally got a date to go to America.

“We’ve had to employ paramedics who will travel with Amy on a commercial flight. They are going to take out four or five seats so they can put her stretcher in.

“We had to abandon any plans to get an air ambulance because we were told it would cost £35,000 each way.”

The family raised more than £50,000 from a series of community events to give Amy the chance of specialist treatment for her condition, which leaves her with a chronic burning pain in her limbs, and affects 11,500 people throughout the UK.

They met their target shortly before Christmas.

The disorder is so rare that specialist treatment is available only in America. The South Texas Innovative Medicine Centre says it can help.

Her treatment in the US would involve the application of an electrical current to pads placed on her body.

The family have already met doctor Donald Rhodes, who carries out the treatment.

They will fly from Heathrow to Houston, and then face a four-hour drive to the clinic.

Before she can travel Danum School pupil Amy has also had to wean herself off powerful painkillers which she has been using.

She has also already been using a low power version of the machines the clinic in America employs, as well as a sort of self hypnosis she has been taught by a therapist who has been treating her to deal with the pain.

Amy said: “I’m really, really excited. I’m a bit nervous, but more excited.

“Before all our fundraising I was beginning to lose hope, but after we started the fundraising I knew we were going to get there.

“I’ve already got a list of things that I want to do when I get back after the treatment. I want to do normal things like going to the park with my friends, things as simple as that.

“It has been two or three years since I was able to get out of the house.

“I’ve always wanted to go to America, but all I will get to see is the clinic!

“But I’m really confident the treatment will work, and I just want to thank everyone who has helped me.”