British family in final push to bring daughter to Israel for leg-saving operation

"We are so grateful for the support we've received from the Jewish community in the UK and all across the world."

January 26, 2018 01:37
2 minute read.
British family in final push to bring daughter to Israel for leg-saving operation

Six-year-old Kyra pictured with her mother, Rima Warrell.. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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A British family has launched a final appeal to raise funds to bring their six-year-old daughter to Israel for special surgery that will allow her to keep her leg.

Kyra Warrell of Brighton, located on the south coast of England, is afflicted with proximal focal femoral deficiency, which will leave her left leg about 8 inches shorter than her right if left untreated.

A crowdfunding campaign, Step-By-Step with Kyra: The First Hurdle, has so far raised nearly £44,000 ($62,000) out of £58,000 ($82,000) needed for the critical surgery due to take place next week, the first of three procedures that will take place before Kyra is 16.

Doctors at Britain’s National Health Service decided that an above-the-knee amputation, to allow for a prosthetic limb, is the best option.

But Kyra’s parents, Rima and Neil Warrell, want their daughter, who loves dancing and gymnastics, to be able to keep her leg and have turned to the internet for assistance in funding a unique medical procedure.

They have discovered a special leg-lengthening surgery performed by an Israeli-born physician, Dror Paley, who is internationally recognized for his expertise in limb lengthening and reconstruction. Paley, the director of the Paley Institute in West Palm Beach, Florida, has performed more than 20,000 limb lengthening and reconstruction-related procedures, according to the institute’s website.

While Paley, who trained in orthopedic surgery at the University of Toronto Medical School, practices in the United States, he will be in Israel at the beginning of February and is willing to perform the first surgery at Rambam Hospital in Haifa.

The Warrells, who are not Jewish, told the London-based Jewish Chronicle that they cannot afford to take Kyra to the United States for the surgery, which Paley has said can give her a fully functioning leg by the time she reaches age 16.

They told the Jewish Chronicle that they will sell their home to fund the nearly $122,000 second operation that would take place in 2019. Paley works once a year at Rambam Hospital to make operations more affordable for non-U.S. patients, according to the crowdfunding page.

"After our story was covered by the Jewish press there was a huge surge in donations and we rapidly shot over the 50 percent mark of our target," Rima told The Jerusalem Post.

"We are so grateful for the support we've received from the Jewish community in the UK and all across the world. We really feel that when we head out to Israel we'll be very welcome."

Meanwhile, the family has set up a Twitter account called @stepwithkyra to chart her progress and that of her supporters.

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