A MOTHER has issued a desperate appeal to the public to help send her ill daughter to Central America for potentially life-saving treatment.

Gemma Edwards (25), of Hexham, has started a fund-raising campaign to raise £40,000 to send her three-year-old daughter Ella Hunter to the Stem Cell Institute, based in Panama, by the end of the year.

Ella, a pupil at Hexham Priory School, suffered a bleed on the brain when she was just six weeks old, and she is confined to a wheelchair after suffering quadriplegic cerebral palsy with spasticity and dystonia. As a result of her illness, Ella can have up to 20 seizures a day.

She was registered blind at the age of one and is fed through a peg because she cannot safely swallow.

Her only hope of a better quality of life is to visit Panama and receive 40 million expanded allogeneic mesenchymal stem cells which will try to repair her brain damage, according to Gemma.

She said: “Ella has medicines every four hours to try and keep her comfortable. We have to constantly change her positions and she undergoes physio. Caring for Ella is a 24-hour job.

“We all live in Hexham and Ella has an older brother, Charlie, who is five, and he absolutely adores her. Sometimes, he will say to me ‘Mummy, why can’t Ella play?’ or ‘Mummy, when will Ella walk or talk?’ and the honest truth is I don’t know and these things may never happen, as the doctors have said.

“Ella really doesn’t get to enjoy the simple things in life, which we take for granted on a daily basis.

“It would mean the world to Ella and all of us if you could please donate and take part in helping to raise the amount to get her to Central America and give her the only shot at a better quality of life.”

To kick-start the fund-raising drive, a seven-mile sponsored walk from Tyne Green, in Hexham, to Warden and back will take place at 2pm on Monday, April 15. An online funding page has been started at https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/ellashope