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£60,000 appeal target for little Zakk Burks is reached

Published: 17 Aug 2014 09:30

THE family of a four-year-old boy in need of life-changing surgery are celebrating after they hit their fundraising target ahead of the operation next month.

Target reached: The presentation of £8,000 to the Zakk Burks appeal. Pictured are golf commitee chairman Colin Corio, Children with Special Needs founder Gordon Parris, Ascot Rotary Club president Alan Rawlinson with Melanie Burks, Milly, eight, and Zakk. 141877

An £8,000 donation from the charity Children With Special Needs has meant the family of Zakk Burks has reached a total of £60,000 that he needs for the operation and subsequent physiotherapy.

Zakk suffers from severe quad spastic cerebral palsy and the surgery should reduce his pain and allow him to eventually walk with the aid of a stick rather than rely on a wheelchair.

He was refused an operation by hospitals in the UK because his condition was considered so severe, but he, along with his family, will fly to Missouri in America later this month after being accepted for surgery, which will take place in September.

The procedure – called Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy – aims to reduce Zakk’s pain and relieve the tightness in his muscles which hinders him walking.

The £8,000 donation was handed in a cheque presentation from the charity’s founder Gordon Parris to the family at Mill Ride Golf Club in Ascot last Wednesday.

The funds given were generated at the Rotary Club of Ascot’s annual charity golf day last summer, which then in turn passed the money on to the charity.

The Rotary Club of Ascot’s president, Alan Rawlinson, said: “We are delighted that the proceeds of our golf day are being used in this way, and we would like to express our best wishes to Zakk and his family on their journey and through the medical procedures to come. We all hope for a successful outcome to the operation.”

The operation itself costs £40,000, while £20,000 will be used to pay for Zakk’s long-term physiotherapy and equipment back home.

Through a campaign named Zakk’s First Step, which was set up last October, the family have organised several fundraising events throughout the last 10 months, including dinners, golf days and fun days, helping them towards the final amount.

Zakk’s mum Melanie said: “We are so grateful for all the help and support Zakk has received.

“Without the support we have had so far we would not be able to do any of this and it’s so important.”

The family is still asking for further help for Zakk’s after-operative care. To make a donation, visit

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