Stevenage girl who underwent £40,000 life-changing op to do sponsored walk for friend with same condition

Jen Clare, pictured on the right walking with her sister Izabelle, has decided to do a sponsored wal

Jen Clare, pictured on the right walking with her sister Izabelle, has decided to do a sponsored walk. - Credit: Archant

A little girl from Stevenage who could not stand or walk before life-changing surgery three years ago is taking part in a sponsored walk to raise money for a friend facing the same operation.

Jen is doing the sponsored walk to raise funds for her friend Jack Gower, who is due to undergo the

Jen is doing the sponsored walk to raise funds for her friend Jack Gower, who is due to undergo the same operation. - Credit: Archant

Suffering from quadriplegic cerebral palsy – a condition which makes limbs extremely stiff – Jen Clare from Kimbolton Crescent struggled to sit up properly or stand.

In January 2012, aged three, she went to the USA for surgery after Comet readers helped raise the £40,000 needed to pay for the specialist procedure.

Now seven-year-old Jen, who goes to Peartree Spring Primary School, can stand on her own for two to three minutes at a time and walk unaided.

Mum Charlotte, 25, said: “She can walk without her sticks around the house. Outside, she’s still very nervous about falling, but occasionally she will walk across the playground.

Jen Clare standing independently, wearing 'pretty shoes' she asked for when she no longer had to wea

Jen Clare standing independently, wearing 'pretty shoes' she asked for when she no longer had to wear splints. - Credit: Archant

“She loves walking along holding hands. When she did it for the first time, it was one of those moments which will always be special.

“Because her body is now so much more relaxed, her writing and concentration at school have improved because she’s not fighting herself to sit upright. They are things we didn’t anticipate.”

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Jen, pictured right, – a Young Achiever of the Year finalist at the 2012 Comet Community Awards – now wants to do a sponsored walk to help her friend Jack Gower, who has spastic paraplegic cerebral palsy.

The nine-year-old from Hitchin has an internal pump in his body which administers a drug 24 hours a day to help his muscles to relax so he can have some mobility.

He is set to have an NHS-funded operation at Great Ormond Street Hospital in August, but the Gower family want to raise £10,000 to allow Jack to have physiotherapy once a week for two years to give him the best chance of walking independently.

Jack and Jen’s dads work together and when Jen suggested she do a sponsored walk to help Jack, Ella said: “I’m completely humbled by it. I think she is incredible. She’s such an amazing little girl.”

To kick start the fundraising, Ella completed last month’s Brighton Marathon and family friends are doing a sky dive and wing walk.

To support Jack, visit www.justgiving.com/Jackswishtowalk.

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