Disabled Lancaster twins Katie and Emma Sutcliffe celebrate a birthday milestone this weekend, hoping that this will be the year they see a massive change in their lives.
The girls will be marking their 16th birthdays on Saturday in the knowledge that they are well on the way to raising the £85,000 needed to pay for pioneering treatment in America which could see them walk independently for the first time.
Katie and Emma suffer from spastic diplegic cerebral palsy and need wheelchairs to get around. But the specialist surgery could drastically improve their quality of life.
Backed by the Guardian, the twins and their family launched an appeal in a bid to raise the money needed.
And they are well on their way to reaching their target, having now collected more than £72,000. Stagecoach Theatre School recently put on a performance at Ripley St Thomas CE Academy, collecting £100 for the appeal.
Also, Lancaster University Comedy Institute, a LUSU society that provides the opportunity for comedy enthusiasts to perform in a variety of different outputs, raised £80 by collecting at their fortnightly stand up performances in one of the campus bars, and are continuing to collect at their future events for the rest of the academic year.
Family friend and Lancaster City FC fan Elaine Heron, who works at Lancaster University, raised more than £150 collecting at recent football matches at Giant Axe.
Thanks also go to the Outage Group from EDF Energy at Heysham 2 Power Station who opted to donate to the appeal rather than send Christmas cards to colleagues, raising £100. Meanwhile, three talented Lancaster and Morecambe acts will compete in the Charity Challenge final at the Grand Theatre this weekend.
The annual event, organised by Furness Building Society, will see 14 acts competing on behalf of their chosen charities for a share of more than £3,000 in cash prizes on Saturday night. The Twins Appeal is hoping for a big win for a group of local gymnasts who will donate any prize money they win to the fund.
Glasson Dock businesswoman Sophie Black is still offering to donate 50 per cent of earnings from her new business from anyone who mentions the appeal when they place an order during January.
The business can be found online at http://www.phoenix-trading.eu/web/sophieblack.
In addition, her sponsor Michelle Clift has also offered 50 per cent of whatever bonus she earns on Sophie’s orders.
The Sutcliffes expressed their thanks to everyone for their support, including the people who have sent cheques through the post. “We are eternally grateful for all the fantastic support we are receiving,” the twins’ mum Caroline said.
*The Royal Marines Brass Band concert, due to be held at the Ashton Hall on February 8, has been cancelled. Lancaster Town Hall’s ticket office is contacting everyone who had already bought tickets.