A RUTHIN girl will take giant leap towards being able to walk unaided with life-changing surgery in the United States this week.

After four years raising more than £65,000, eight-year-old Freya Bailey will board a plane for the first time on Saturday, March 9 bound for St Louis Children's Hospital, in Missouri, for surgery to her spine.

Freya, who attends Ysgol Borthyn, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy aged three and has relied on a walking frame and wheelchair since.

Now, following extensive research by mum Beth Woolford, countless cake sales, car boot sales, disco nights, auctions and collection box donations towards 'Freya's Freedom' and a cancellation in November, the date is fast approaching for Freya's surgery.

Ms Woolford said:"Freya is extremely excited! She has never been on a plane before so she is over the moon about that.

"This means so much more than just walking for her,it’s the little things - that we all take for granted - that she wants. As an eight-year-old girl she wants to be able to wiggle her toes, jump on a trampoline, skip with a skipping rope, have dancing lessons . It’s leading a more fulfilled life as a little girl.

Freya will make the journey to the city with her mum and aunt Grace Woolford - although her brother Max, five, will stay with gran Elen Woolford - where they will spend a four weeks where they have a small window of time to visit the sights in tempestuous weather including the St Louis arch and also the St Louis Cardinals stadium.

“We started making plans in November and we can’t believe how quickly it has come around. Freya is desperate to go and spend her pocket money at a dollar tree store."

“Naturally we are anxious, but we are also very excited. It has been a long time coming so to finally be getting the chance to go is very exciting but we are also feeling a lot of emotions at the moment.

“My son Max is staying at home with my mother, it will be very difficult for us both going on this journey without him."

Freya’s procedure – which has minimal risk - will involve surgery on the spine, removing part of the base is so the nerves can be accessed, after which a current will be run through each nerve to determine which of them causes the spasticity that comes with cerebral palsy.

Those nerves will then be severed permanently removing the spasticity. She will also undergo a smaller surgical procedure to lengthen her heel cords.

The stay will include one week as an inpatient following the surgery, followed by three weeks staying nearby to attend intensive daily physiotherapy sessions.

Beth added: “The biggest challenge for Freya immediately following surgery will be to get used to her body feeling different and putting in lots of hard work moving forward.

"She knows things will be strange at first, but with hard work things will be much easier for her. She always works hard in her physiotherapy sessions and at home on a daily basis to be independent, so I have no doubt she will sail through it all."

As a send-off before she heads West, Freya's classmates will join her for a 'good luck' party at Ysgol Borthyn, organised by the mother of her friend Rebekah, Rachael Hazel.

Ms Woolford said: "We have received donations and messages of encouragement from all over the country,some from complete strangers. It really is heart warming and really restores your faith in humanity. Everybody is really emotionally invested in this with us which means the world."

“Thank you just isn’t enough - there are no words to explain the gratitude I have to everyone for helping my little girl to have her chance and to be able to live her best life."