Monday, February 14, 2011

New Zealand public comes together to help buy prosthetic legs for girl

From The New Zealand Herald:

The girl known as Baby Charlotte will get her new legs thanks to the help of hundreds of people around the country.

Charlotte Cleverley-Bisman (pictured), who featured on the front page of the Weekend Herald last week, has outgrown her prosthetic legs and has not been able to walk for the past three months.

Her family and friends organised a special car show to help fundraise for a new set of legs, which will cost almost $20,000.

Organisers of the event say that thanks to the publicity they are "well above" that mark and will be putting any extra money received into the purchasing of more prosthetic legs for Charlotte - who needs a new pair about every six months, as she grows.

Family friend and Glenfield community constable Grant Kenny said hundreds of people around the country had donated to help Charlotte in the past week.

Sponsors had also lined up to help with the Baby Charlotte Classic Car Show, which will be held on February 27 at the North Shore Events Centre.

Mr Kenny thanked the public and business sector for their generosity.

"We're doing awesome. We've had lots of people helping out - from sponsors to little old ladies just rocking up to the police station with a cheque.

"It's been phenomenal. We're really looking forward to the car show ... this is going to change this little girl's life."

Charlotte, now aged 7, lost her arms and legs as a baby, when she contracted meningitis.

She became known as "Baby Charlotte" and was the face of a nationwide campaign encouraging people to immunise against the disease.

Although she receives some public funding each year - one pair of prosthetic legs annually - the legs are made of fibreglass and too painful for Charlotte to use.

Her father, Perry Bisman, said dozens of people had contacted both him and Charlotte's mum, Pam Cleverley, offering support.

He said all the money raised would be used to fund his daughter's ongoing need for prosthetic legs; which would include having to fly to America to get the limbs.

Charlotte would also be able to attend Camp No Limits while in America, a camp exclusively for children with limb loss.

He said they would also look at getting her prosthetic arms one day.

Ms Cleverley said the past week had been a whirlwind ride for the family - particularly for Charlotte.

"It's pretty amazing. We've just had a great response and we thank everyone for helping our little girl."