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By Tristan Harris Thursday 27 December 2012 Updated: 04/01 09:27
ONE OF the most incredible Bromsgrove stories of 2012 has been the Hope For Georgia campaign, which saw £20,000 raised in just 12 weeks for town youngster Georgia Almquest, who really captured residents' and readers' hearts.
Georgia has cerebral palsy and the spastisity in all four of her limbs, caused by the condition, means the two-year-old cannot hold her head up, sit or crawl.
Doctors said specialist stem-cell treatment, which is available in America, could improve her quality of life and provided her with the only chance she had of being able to walk.
The Hope For Georgia campaign was launched in a bid to raise the £20,000 to send her for the special treatment.
We at The Standard saw posts about it on Facebook and contacted Georgia's mum Natalie to ask if we could help publicise the campaign and get the cash flooding in.
That was back in September and, thanks to residents, local businesses and other organisations holding a host of fund-raising events and donating to the cause, the funds were raised in just three months.
Among the events organised during that time were a week of activities at the Castle Nursery and a sponsored nine-mile midnight walk from McDonald's in Wychbold to the Castle Nursery and back again, where participants braved heavy rain to boost the coffers.
There was also a golf day at Worcester's Ravenmeadow Golf Club on October 13, which was followed by Georgia's second birthday party.
Others included a family funday and plant sale at the Sugarbrook pub, a fun night at the Austin Social Club in Longbridge and a fancy dress Halloween night at the Boat and Railway in Stoke Prior.
Friends of Georgia's family Gaz Evans and Vikki Wilday collected £2,000 when they undertook a daring skydive, an auction night has been held for the cause and Charford resident Bridget Kings switched on her famous Christmas lights display in Grafton Crescent to raise further funds.
When the £20,000 target was reached in the first week of November, the achievement was described by mum Natalie as 'the best early Christmas present the family could ever have wished for'.
She said she had been overwhelmed and added: "I want to say a massive thank you to everyone who has helped, contributed and organised events - it has been fantastic."
Amanda Naughton, who was the founder of the campaign, said she had also been absolutely blown away by the compassion of family, friends and the general public and at how quickly the funds had been raised.
The family confirmed Georgia would be going for her specialist stem cell treatment in the new year.
With the initial £20,000 collected, the campaign is continuing, because there is a chance Georgia will need more than one stem cell treatment.
For more on the campaign and events, type 'Hope For Georgia' into Facebook or visit www.justgiving.com/HOPE-FOR-GEORGIA
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