Baby Victoria needs £300k to avoid double leg amputation
- Credit: Nick Butcher
A child's first steps are a seminal moment.
But for the parents of one-year-old Victoria Komada, it will cost £300,000 and three operations to achieve.
Born with one in a million condition bilateral tibial hemimilia, the bones in her legs are shortened and she is missing a patella.
Doctors in the UK insisted amputation would be the only option, but dad Dariusz Komada and mum Marzena Drusewicz are determined to save the legs of their first-born.
'It was horrible to be told,' said Miss Drusewicz, 29. 'I was upset when she was born but that has gone now. It is not going to change anything, and it would not have helped if it showed in a scan. 'I am happy that we didn't know because if we did we might not have Victoria now. You don't know what you would do in that situation.'
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After researching the condition, the couple found the Paley Institute in Florida, which specialises in correcting the deformities. Dozens of babies now walk on their own legs thanks to the pioneering surgery, which involves a 12 month stay in the USA and three operations.
The price tag of £300,000 came as a blow.
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'We were shocked when we saw the figures,' said Mr Komada, 38. 'I never imagined it would be that much money. We know it is a long way but we can do it.
'Every penny is really important for us. When you have children your whole life changes and your priorities change. She is my priority now.'
The surgery needs to be performed by Victoria's second birthday before her bones begin to grow and learning to walk would be painful.
'As parents, amputation is not acceptable,' added Miss Drusewicz. 'We want the best for her. Of course if we do not have a choice then that's it. We are going everywhere to ask for money and we do not want to give up.'
Hopes have been dashed as collection tins for Victoria have been stolen from stores, one from Poland and most recently from her aunt and uncle's shop on Mile Cross Lane.
'The same thing happened in Poland when someone stole a collection tin from a bakery,' said Miss Drusewicz. 'The man who stole it called me after two days crying, and he gave the money back.
'We were so angry. We do everything for Victoria and someone comes and takes the money so easily. He can't understand how hard it is to raise the money for her.'
Facing a year long stay in Florida, Mr Komada would be separated from his wife and child for 12 months, only flying out for the operations.
'We would lose everything if we both go,' said Mr Komada. 'I wish we could fly together but we would have nothing to come back to. I want to be with both my girls but it is not possible.
'When she was born I stopped believing in people. When something like this happens and we see people want to help us, I start to believe there are still some really good people.
'At the beginning it was so hard and we have been through some very bad times, but it can only get better.'
So far the family have raised no more than £30,000. To donate directly visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/victoria-komada. There is also a bilingual Facebook page where any items can be auctioned with proceeds going to Victoria. Search Uratujmy nó?ki Victorii- Help save my legs.