A DISABLED Hamworthy tot who needs an operation to help her walk again will have to wait even longer after the theft of a collection box containing money for her appeal.

Heartless thieves smashed their way into Patisserie Mark Bennett’s Ashley Cross store where the box, raising money for two-year-old Cerys Mann who has cerebral palsy, had been left.

Mum, Laura said: “My husband Tim has worked for the company for four years and they kindly agreed to keep the box there. Staff were putting their tips in too, and we believe there would have been around £100 in it so we are really upset for them as well as Cerys.”

The theft is a setback for the appeal to raise £20,000 to fund a selective dorsal rhizotomy on Cerys. The complicated operation would, says Laura, relieve the pain she suffers from the spasticity in her legs, which also prevents her walking.

“Because of the condition she can only walk on her tip toes and we believe this operation, which isn’t funded by the NHS anymore, would enable her to walk pain-free,” said Laura.

Currently, because of the pain in her legs, Cerys sleeps badly although Botox injections did relieve it for a while. “After that she slept properly for two months,” said Laura. Cerys also managed to start walking but the pain is returning as the Botox wears off.

The private operation could go ahead in Bristol which is one of only a few UK centres to perform it.

The family started their appeal six weeks ago and have already raised around £8,000. But they will need more than the £20,000 because they will have to fund Cerys’s aftercare which includes intensive and specialist physiotherapy.

“We are aiming for £65,000,” said Laura. “I haven’t got £65,000 and that’s why I’m so upset about the theft.”

*If you'd like to help contact justgiving.com/fundraising/dcf-cerys