SAUNDERTON, England -- The Automatic Vending Association reports that industry leaders are calling upon their colleagues to help raise £60,000 to fly a five-year-old girl with quadriplegic cerebral palsy to the U.S. for life- changing surgery.
Cerys Griffiths, who was born prematurely, is unable to stand or walk unaided because of uncontrollable muscle spasms. A surgical procedure, selective dorsal rhizotomy, can alleviate the spasticity and the pain the child experiences when standing. Her parents have set up a fund to raise the money needed to bring her to the United States for the surgery.
After raising almost £400 at a dinner during this year's Vendex, AVA is urging the entire vending industry to dig deep and support this cause. The girl's father, Gwyn Griffiths, works for a leading producer of disposable cups, RPC Tedeco-Gizeh (Kenfig, Port Talbot, Wales).
"Since we set up the trust fund, Cymorth I Cerys [To Support Cerys], in 2009, the support we've received has been overwhelming," Griffiths said. "From charity evenings to the Three Peaks challenge, fundraising to date has enabled us to buy items such as a specialist trike, walking frame and home physiotherapy equipment. All of which has encouraged Cerys' independence and made her the confident little girl she is today.
"Our main aim at the moment, however, is to self-fund a specialist and life changing spinal operation in the U.S.A., which has been refused here in Britain."
The RPC Tedeco-Gizeh team has been supporting the campaign enthusiastically. "The employee forum team at RPC Kenfig have voted overwhelmingly two years in succession to support the Cerys appeal," said general manager David Lowe. "During that period it has been a privilege to see the staff at site involved in all sorts of activities including running, jumping out of airplanes, sponsored silences, to cake baking. The money raised has helped provide much-needed building modifications and equipment to improve the quality of life for Cerys.
"I have met Cerys many times and she is such a beautiful little girl, full of life and energy," Lowe added. "We will continue to do all we can at RPC Kenfig to further support her fundraising appeal."
AVA represents the vending and coffee service industry in the United Kingdom and Ireland.