SIKESTON, MO (KFVS) - A Heartland community is coming together to help a little girl walk independently.
Eight-year-old Henley Newman was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy when she was just 2-years-old and has never been able to walk on her own, but now thanks to generous donations she’ll be able to get a life changing surgery.
"She was born at 23 weeks, she was 14 ounces, almost, she was right underneath there and she was 10 inches long,” said Katie Johnson, Henley’s mom.
Henley spent nearly the first 6 months of her life in the hospital.
“She came home with all kinds of cords, bells and whistles and then slowly over the years we’ve just kind of decreased everything that she’s needed,” said Johnson.
Johnson said when Henley turned two, doctors diagnosed her with Cerebral Palsy, a disorder that affects her muscles.
"Henley, right now, walks with a gate trainer or if you hold her hand she can walk her biggest goal is to walk unassisted,” said Johnson. And that could be possible after a Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy.
Johnson said the surgery is expensive and insurance doesn't come close to covering the cost.
So they took to Facebook months in advance to try to raise enough money to cover the surgery.
“We have a huge support group of friends and family just here in Sikeston and then our families outside of Sikeston shared that and it just grew exponentially just basically overnight,” said Johnson.
In just 12 days they raised more than $50,000 for Henley. "Thank you will never be enough," said Johnson.
Henley’s surgery is scheduled for May 23.
“Of course after the surgery it’s not going to be snap! Henley can walk. She is going to need lots and lots of therapy a lot of work to get her where she wants to be,” said Johnson.
They know it is going to be a long journey but in the end it will be worth it. "For us just watching Henley gain her independence and just to be able to play with her peers without an adult being present," said Johnson.
Henley’s family is hosting their third annual lemonade stand this weekend to raise money for the surgery. Click here for more details.