AN operation to change a little girl's life has become tantalisingly close, with one final push needed to raise the necessary money.

The surgery that would enable four-year-old Niamh Tarran, who has cerebral palsy, to walk is advised to be carried out before children are five-years-old, before they can form bad habits and to prevent the development of deformities.

So far an amazing £48,000 has been raised, through donations and fundraising events, meaning that Niamh's mother Emma Farrugia is hoping that the last £12,000 can be raised before Niamh's fifth birthday in December.

Niamh had a very difficult first year of life, being born prematurely after her twin sister died in the womb. She spent the first three months of life in hospital, fighting through contracting MRSA and needing an operation to have a shunt implanted due to hydrocephalus. At 18 months she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

Now in nursery school, Niamh is a popular and pleasant little girl, who would like nothing more than to be able to sit safely and stand and walk unaided.

Blown away by the generosity that people have so far shown in rallying around her daughter, Emma is hoping that a final swell in fundraising efforts will enable them travel to St Louis, Missouri for the Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy procedure that would see Niamh able to walk independently.

She described how she would love for Niamh to start school in September, able to join in with the other children.

Emma, 26, of Brock Street, Barry said: "At school she sees all the other children on their bikes and Niamh is just in her walker.

"Or like last weekend, we went to Cosmeston Park when the weather was nice and we can't stay long because it's so busy and Niamh has to crawl on the floor.

"She's missing a part of her childhood. If she could walk independently it would just change her life."

An incredible amount of fundraising has taken place so far, but the total has plateaued since around last summer.

Taking note of this, family friend Michelle Hunt hopes to kickstart events in Barry with an aerobathon next week.

With help from friend Carys Ogden and Cardio Core gym owner Sarah Cayton, Michelle is seekign to reignite the Niamh Needs To Walk cause.

"It was so much in the public eye before," she said. "But lately I haven't seen anything about it.

"Niamh is a lovely little girl who should be running around things other four-year-olds take for granted."

Fellow aerobathon organiser Carys Ogden said that she hopes the fact the target of £12,000 seems so achievable will inspire people to donate, even if they can't get to a fundraiser.

"If everyone in Barry donated £1 she could go," she said.

The Cardio Core fundraising event, which is on Palmersville Business Centre, Palmerston Road, is a four hour aerobic session of fitness and fun with all welcome to participate on Saturday, March 29 11am to 3pm.

There will also be a prize raffle and DJ Jordan Harrison performing on the day. Entry is £10.

To donate to Niamh's fund, visit