THE PARENTS of an Oakdale baby who are hoping to raise £100,000 for an operation to help her walk are appealing for donations for a black-tie event and auction.
Ayla-Mae Hemms, aged 17 months, from Oakdale, suffers spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, and is also profoundly deaf. She needs to learn sign language, but she is unable to do so because of her condition.
Her parents, Leigh Hemms, 23, who works for Wales and West Utilities, and Kelsey Jenkins, 21, Ayla-Mae’s full-time carer, are setting up a charity in their daughter’s name to send her to America for a life-changing operation which could help her walk.
Thanks to the generosity of businesses and residents in Gwent, Ayla-Mae is one step closer to achieving this goal, as more than £15,000 has been raised so far – but there is still a long way to go.
Her family are planning on holding a black-tie fundraiser in the summer and are appealing to businesses and individuals in Gwent to donate prizes to ensure they raise as much money as possible.
Mr Hemms said: “Ayla is a local girl so we really want local businesses and people to get involved. We are ideally looking for some really top-notch prizes to auction off but any sort of help and support is hugely welcomed.
“We are also looking for Welsh entertainers, bands and comedians to help us out on the night and provide the entertainment.”
Ayla-Mae, who was in hospital last week for the first of several operations, has been named Caerphilly-based company TPS 360’s charity of the year for 2014, and they have already raised £5,000 and donated a signed Sam Warburton rugby shirt to the cause.
Mr Hemms added: “We have some really big things planned for this year. Myself and some friends are going to do the Welsh Three Peaks challenge in June and there’s plenty more in the pipeline.”
The couple hope to not only help their daughter, but in the long-term use the charity to help other children in the UK who suffer from varying forms of cerebral palsy.
To donate or find out more visit gofundme.com/5fm48g or facebook.com/aylamae.hemms