Final push to help brain op Hevingham girl Ella-Grace Honeyman

Four-year-old Ella-Grace Honeyman is set for her seventh and hopefully final eight-hour brain operation in New York this autumn.

The youngster has a rare brain blood flow condition but expert surgery and nearly �280,000 raised by Norfolk people so far are helping her lead a normal life.

Each operation and family flights to the United States costs about �46,500 and fund-raisers are now seeking to generate the last �10,000 needed for the September trip.

A fun day and music festival at the Salhouse Lodge on Saturday August 20 is the next big event said Steve Read who organisers the fund for Ella-Grace and said the response from Norfolk people to her plight had been 'superb'.

Mum Laura Honeyman said the family from Hevingham near Aylsham was 'staggered' by the public support.

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'People have given us the gift of her life. It has not just been a couple of times, but several operations over a sustained period.

'For people to donate when they have their own problems is overwhelming. We are keeping a scrapbook so that when she gets older she will know how much people loved her.'

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Ella-Grace has vein of Galen malformations which affect drainage of the brain and require intricate operations to try to stem the leaks - done by only a handful of surgeons worldwide, including the man who has been treating her, Dr Alex Berenstein in New York.

Each operation takes more than eight hours, with access to the deep-seated problem areas in the brain done through a catheter going in through the groin and heart. The family normally stays around a week for the youngster to be well enough to fly home.

The next one on September 21 should tackle the remaining few veins which were too small to deal with last time, but are expected to have grown enough to be treatable this time.

If successful it means Ella-Grace will then just need check ups and probably blood thinners for life. She is starting at Colman Infants School in September and is 'doing well' said Mrs Honeyman.

'She is active, has good vocabulary but needs some play therapy through Quidenham Children's Hospice to help with emotions - she has been through a lot,' she added.

Her husband Ryan is involved with the family's Castle Windows double glazing business and sometimes still plays football for Cromer where he was once captain. Ella-Grace who has a older sister Niamh, six, also now has a baby brother Rylan who was born eight weeks ago.

To support her fund visit the fun day at Salhouse Lodge on August 20 which has a car boot from 8am, activities from 11am and music from noon to midnight including pop, rock and skiffle from acts such as Pyevarotti, Stone Cold, the Gashill Mob and an ABC tribute band.

Donations can also be made via Steve Read on 07949 871013 or 01603 722294, or visit Cheques payable to The Ella-Grace Fund can be sent to Mr Read at 77 Salhouse Road, Rack-heath, Norwich, NR13 6PD.

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