Fundraising Thetford balloon race to raise funds for Maisy

Twelve months ago, Craig and Hayley Hutley were left devastated when they were told that their little girl would never be able to walk because of a rare genetic disorder.

The family from Thetford released a thousand balloons in Castle Park at the weekend to raise money to help buy special equipment for two-year-old Maisy, who has spinal muscular atrophy type two.

The condition, which affects one in 6,500 babies, causes weakness and wasting of the muscles in the arms and legs.

To mark the anniversary of Maisy's diagnosis, the family decided to do something positive and stage a balloon race fundraiser. The eight balloons that travel the furthest will result in a prize for the person who bought it.

Mrs Hutley, of Crown House Close, said she had been 'overwhelmed' by the support of local people, which will help to buy equipment for Maisy as she grows up.

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The balloon race is set to raise more than �1,000 and the family hope to make it an annual event.

Mrs Hutley said the condition was genetic but had not affected her three-year-old daughter Leila. She realised that there was something wrong with Maisy when from about 10 months old when she could not stand up for herself.

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'Maisy is lovely and a really happy girl and has a brilliant personality and fortunately it will not affect her brain. The condition causes curvature of the spine and she will need to have a major operation when she is between eight and 12 years old. She goes to Great Ormond Street Hospital twice a year and has regular check-ups at the West Suffolk Hospital and physio every two weeks,' she said.

Maisy's aunt Michelle Pearson coordinated the balloon race and the family received prizes from Cineworld, Mr G's Bowling, Fun to Play, LA Bakes, Beauty By Ellie, Curve Motion, a medium reading and a fish foot spa. The balloons were provided by Belinda Jane Balloons and the cards by Goodprint.

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