Parents of little Victoria, 2, to make decision over amputating her legs
- Credit: Nick Butcher
The family of a toddler with a rare condition say one of her legs may now be amputated after they ran out of time in their efforts to raise £300,000.
Little Victoria Komada, from north Norwich, turns two this week.
But the birthday is also a deadline. The family have been striving to raise £300,000 to send her to America for life-changing surgery.
After a year of heroic fund-raising from family and friends, they have less than half at £140,000. It will not be enough to save both her legs from amputation.
Vicki was born with one in a million condition bilateral tibial hemimelia - in which both legs are missing vital bones. Doctors in this country recommended amputation, but a specialist clinic in Florida led by Dr Dror Paley offered to carry out surgery.
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It would have to be done by the time she turned two, and time has now run out.
'We are still trying to raise some money in Poland and in this country but it is very hard,' said Vicki's dad, Dariusz.
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'Now we are sure we will not get it. The amount is too big.'
The family are resigned to making a decision this month and expect to ask for her right leg to be amputated. The other could still be saved with surgery.
'It is very hard to make a decision but one option is to amputate the right leg,' added Mr Komada.
'I have to do everything I can and what I think is best for my daughter and my whole family. If we do decide to amputate one of the legs, all the money we have raised will be going on physio, on prosthetic legs, and for her future. That money is for her, I won't take a penny.
'I have to do something, because she has to walk. I know she will always be disabled but we have to do everything we can.'
A group of family friends last week boosted the total by £5,000 after climbing the three highest peaks in the UK in under 24 hours.
Monika Jablonska, one of the organisers, said they are not stopping their effort.
'It was very challenging, we were all in pain and very tired with very limited time for sleep,' she said. 'It was a success for all of us and Victoria.
'Our funding target been also reached but the little girl needs much more than that. So we are going to extend our collection to the beginning of August and create more events in the future.'
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Community has rallied
From nuns to masonic lodges, the community has united in support of little Vicki, with an incredible sum of money raised in just nine months.
Her story gained national attention after a collection tin at her aunt and uncle's shop in north Norwich was stolen.
Less than £300 was taken but the outpouring of support since has boosted their funds by more than £100,000.
Mr Komada said: 'It is so hard when you see kids the same age as Victoria who can walk and do everything. It is very hard for us, and sometimes I cry because she wants to but she can't.'
Her mum, Marzena Drusewicz said: 'I am so grateful people want to help our Victoria.
'I never thought there would be so many people in the world wanting to help. They have a good heart and that is why I think they want to help.
'Victoria is such a sweet girl - she is always happy and smiling. I think that is what people like.'