More than £5,000 raised in support of Sheffield parents hoping to get lifechanging treatment for baby daughter

More than £5,000 has been raised in less than a week to help the devoted parents of a six-month-old Sheffield baby pay for treatment which they say could change her life.

Tuesday, 27th August 2019, 09:32 am
Updated Tuesday, 27th August 2019, 16:37 pm

Richard Donson and Fran Topham’s first child Matilda Donson was born premature in February and spent five weeks on the special care baby unit at the Jessop maternity wing before being allowed home.

But the family was devastated earlier this month when the youngster had a series of seizures and she was diagnosed with West syndrome – a rare from of epilepsy – and periventricular leukomalacia, damage to the white matter of the brain which is responsible for movement.

Fran Topham and Richard Donson, pictured with their daughter Matilda and dog Maggie.

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They launched a fundraising campaign last week to help pay for treatment, physiotherapy and travel and it has already raised more than £5,000.

Richard, aged 27, of Gleadless, said: “It’s hard to get your head around it all to be honest. The response has just been unbelievable.

“She has responded very well to the treatment that she has had and hopefully we’ll get more of an update this week.”

Richard said the couple had launched the fundraising campaign after being told the condition could affect her mobility and possibly cause cerebral palsy.

He added they also might only be able to get one hour’s worth of physiotherapy per month on the NHS.

Richard said: “Everything was looking really good, she was progressing how she should have been until last Sunday when she started having these seizures.

“We went to the doctors and she got admitted to the children’s hospital on the Tuesday and they did an ECG, a scan on her brain and MRI and they told us she had got West syndrome and PVL – it was devastating.”

Matilda was prescribed medication and discharged from hospital last Monday and has not had any further seizures since.

But Richard said the couple had launched the fundraising campaign after being told the condition could affect her mobility and possibly cause cerebral palsy.

He added: “The response has been completely overwhelming to say the least.”

The devoted dad said the family had now applied to Snowdrop – a specialist treatment centre in Devon and was waiting to hear back.

He also said he was struggling to find a specialist paediatric physiotherapist in Sheffield.

Richard said: “We’ve done all the application forms for Snowdrop and are hoping to hear back from then over the next week.

“There’s the cost of getting to Devon and then the cost of the treatment itself. The first assessment is £400 and £300 per session afterwards and physio can be anything from £50 to £100 an hour.”

Matilda is back at hospital for further scans and tests this week.

Richard added: “All we are trying to do is give her the best possible chance. There’s a lot of uncertainty at the moment but the one thing we’re certain about is our daughter is a fighter and deserves a chance.”