A family has been left ‘sickened’ by callous thieves who stole a charity box raising money for an operation to help their nine-year-old daughter walk again. Kareena Hayes, who suffers from cerebral palsy, has launched an appeal on JustGiving to raise £10,000 to privately fund the much-needed surgery.Doctors have told the schoolgirl it is unlikely she will ever walk unaided again unless she has the operation.But the heartless thieves smashed their way into the premises and stole money from the till, as well as the charity box – including the photograph of Kareena that was attached to it.
She said: ‘I’m very angry and upset. I’m poorly and cannot walk well and they would have known that money was for me. How could they?’I’m really nervous for the treatment and we really need the money. For someone to take it is terrible.’I try and get on with my life as best I can. This is just terrible. I don’t understand why anybody would want to take from me.’I was very shocked when I heard somebody had taken the box. I feel sorry for my dad. He looks after me. I love him so much.’Kareena, who lives with her dad Craig Hammond, 39, and brother Nathan Hammond, 11, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when she was just one.Doctors have recommended an operation called selective dorsal rhizotomy, which improves muscle stiffness and mobility in cerebral palsy sufferers. ‘It’s sickening. I feel very sorry for them [the cafe], because it’s not something they needed either.
‘We were really pleased that they had included a box for her. We’re both going to go in the cafe in the next few days to see them.The family has so far raised £775, and received a £2,500 donation from the charity Caudwell Children, which helps transform the lives of disabled children across the UK. Craig added: ‘If we can get the funding together for the operation then it’s a very long process.’She will need intense physiotherapy for two years and she will have a long way ahead of her.’She’s very brave. I’m very proud of her. I think she’s brilliant and doing well.’Emily Jeffrey, who owns the Marmalade and Tea cafe, said she feels ‘absolutely heartbroken’ and was ‘really horrified’ when she realised the charity box had been taken.She added: ‘The box was tied to the till and that was ripped off. It had a photograph of her on it. They would have known it meant raising money for a poorly girl. ‘For that money to have been taken away from her for an operation and her family is horrible.’