Hopes high that Ella-Grace is set for her final surgery

Little Ella-Grace Honeyman flew to New York once again yesterday with hopes high it will be the last time the youngster faces life-threatening brain surgery.

The four-year-old, from Hevingham, near Aylsham, suffers from the rare condition vein of Galen malformation. Yesterday she headed to America for a seventh operation to seal leaking blood vessels in her brain.

Doctors hope this latest surgery will prove to be the last and the family – including mother Laura and father Ryan Honeyman – were feeling positive ahead of the journey.

Steve Read, fundraising chairman for the Life for Ella-Grace Fund, said: 'We have been told so many times 'it's the last one' and you really don't know until you get out there – but the family seems positive this time. Ella-Grace has been progressing really well.'

The youngster – who has an older sister Niamh and baby brother Rylan – was first diagnosed with the condition just a few days before her first birthday.

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Only a handful of surgeons in the world are capable of dealing with the illness and Ella-Grace's parents decided to seek treatment outside the UK to ensure their daughter was seen by the most experienced doctors.

Each operation takes around eight hours and usually involves a week-long stay in the Big Apple while the little girl, who started this month at Colman Infant School, Norwich, recovers. It all means the family and their army of supporters have had to raise a total of nearly �300,000 to pay for the operations.

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Ahead of this latest treatment, the committee found it was about �10,000 short of the �46,000 target and faced a last-minute battle to raise the remainder of the cash.

Mr Read said a fun day at Salhouse Lodge last month had proven a huge help raising �4,500 in just one day.

The all-day event included a car boot sale and a variety of activities and performances from bands.

Mr Read said: 'A lot of hard work went into that from everyone. It means we have just about got to where we need to be.'

But, once this operation has been paid for, it will leave the pot empty once again.

'Hopefully we won't have to do much more,' said the committee chairman. 'But we have to be led by the surgeons. If we need to start again, we will. Everybody has worked so hard to help us raise this money over the past three years. We can't thank them enough. She wouldn't be here without their help.'

To make a donation to the Life for Ella Grace Fund, call Steve Read on 07949 871013 or 01603 722294, or visit www.lifeforellagracefund.co.uk. Cheques payable to the Ella-Grace Fund can be sent to Mr Read at 77 Salhouse Road, Rackheath, Norwich, NR13 6PD.


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