AN INCREDIBLE fundraising campaign for Thornbury toddler Ezzy Hodge has reached its £80,000 target after only nine months.

The milestone means that three-year-old Ezzy, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy last year, has the funds needed to go to the United States for revolutionary surgery that could see her take her first steps.

Having been born 11 weeks premature after mum Angela was diagnosed with a kidney stone during pregnancy, Ezzy was born severely underweight and was required to remain in an incubator for the first few weeks of her life, with the disability having been properly diagnosed around the time she was learning to walk.

Since then, Ezzy has been confined to crawling, or using a walking frame or wheelchair to get around.

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The Ezzy’s Wish to Walk campaign was launched by Angela and husband Matt last November to raise the money for the surgery and physio therapy, and thanks to an overwhelming wave of support from both residents in Thornbury and the wider community, they have now reached their target, with the final piece of the puzzle coming in the form of a £5,000 grant from charity Caudwell Children.

“It is fantastic to have made it to £80,000, I still can’t believe it,” said Angela.

“When you have such a large amount to raise, you worry that the donations being made will plateau and slow down, but the fact that we have raised it in only nine months is amazing. It just shows all the hard work people have been putting into it, event after event.

“We are so appreciative of everyone who has stood by us and continued with us all this way.”

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The final piece of the puzzle came this week in the form of a £5,000 grant from charity Caudwell Children.

Ezzy is now set to fly out to the states on September 14, with surgery taking place on September 19.

Fundraising however is continuing to help finance the years of physiotherapy that the toddler needs to undergo in order to ensure the operation is a success.

Among the remaining events is a ball taking place on September 2 at the Marriott Hotel in Bristol.

A festival – Ezzyfest – is also being organised at Feed Bristol, near Frenchay on September 28.

Recalling the position she was placed in a year ago when getting their head around the mountain the campaign would have to climb, she said she didn’t know what was worse, being told Ezzy had cerebral palsy and would never walk, or having the feint hope that if they raised such a large amount, they would only just have a chance of getting her the surgery.

She said that they had a best case scenario of raising the money in 18 months, and said that she never believed the response to the campaign and that they would achieve it so quickly.

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“The lovely comments from people have really kept us going,” she said. “When you are feeling tired or low and you get a pat on the shoulder or a well done, it really hits you.

“There have been times where I have had to run around the corner to wipe tears away because they have been so overwhelming.”

Joking that Ezzy has “become a bit of a madam” having attended so many fundraisers, Angela said that her daughter had learned to cope with the attention well and that whenever they go to an event she just gets out the car and announces her arrival.

“She has been great,” she said. “I think towards the end it has taken its toll and she is all smiled out but she has been fantastic.

“For her age, to sit there hour after hour after hour at the events and bucket raising shows how strong she is and I am so proud of her.

“Looking at her, she is the reason I get up every day and do it. If it helps her, I would do it 10-times over again if it gives her a chance of an independent life.

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“The main thing now is that she comes through the surgery ok and gets stronger on a daily basis, working towards taking her first steps, so that it becomes entirely normal for her to walk up the stairs, get of the settee when she wants to, things like that.

“Anything beyond that is a bonus.”

For more information on the campaign, and to buy tickets to the ball, visit