Fundraising continues for Newport and former Dunmow student Maddi, 15, who needs £300,000 to pay for life-saving treatment

Maddi Thurgood.

Maddi Thurgood. - Credit: Archant

Stem cell donors have been found for Maddi Thurgood, the teenager diagnosed with a wasting disease, whose cause has rallied the community. Maddi, a pupil at The Joyce Frankland Academy in Newport, is hoping for a transplant in America and her family are trying to raise the £600,000 the operation will cost.

They have already spent 12,000 dollars on tests in the States and are about to spent another 10,000 on sending her DNA to America. This latest test would take two months in Britain, because the sample would have to be sent to Europe, but the Americans can offer the result in a week. Every day that goes by gives the illness more time to disable Maddi’s body. The girl who was once a keen skater has had to give up the hobby. She has not been back to school since the diagnosis or able to take part in the weekly animal care course at Saffron Walden County High School she previously attended.

Her mum Carina said: “It’s a nightmare, it’s the worst thing ever. You just wake up in the morning and deal with whatever you have to do that day to help Maddi. This latest test is a complex gene test but it has to be done before the transplant. The hospital in America says there are a number of donors.”

Maddi was diagnosed with Krabbe disease in April, just two days before her 15th birthday. The illness wastes the muscles and can affect sight and hearing. Last month, Maddi and her parents went to The Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia to see world specialist Dr Maria Escolar. If Maddi has the transplant in the States, she will need to be in hospital there for two months, which is partly why the operation is so expensive.

Carina said Maddi hoped she could return to school soon for a couple of days a week. She said: “She has her walking stick but if it gets knocked over, she will lose her balance.”

To support Maddi, visit

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