The journey of the Roper family

APPEAL SUCCESS: Megan with mum Sarah, dad Carl and sister Ruth.
APPEAL SUCCESS: Megan with mum Sarah, dad Carl and sister Ruth.

The family of a severely disabled five-year-old have spoken of their disbelief after an appeal to transform her life reached its target.

Sarah and Carl Roper have been fundraising for years to renovate their home in Swanfield, Long Melford, to meet the needs of their daughter Megan, who suffers from a mystery illness.

In March, the Free Press joined the campaign and a staggering £46,000 has now been raised towards the cause.

“This is going to make a huge difference to our lives and means the build can finally go ahead,” said Sarah, who works at the Job Centre in Sudbury.

“It is a massive relief and is a weight off my mind because every waking moment I have been thinking about this and how much it will help Megan.”

Readers of the Free Press have united to put on a series of fundraising events, including running marathons, completing obstacle courses and arranging charity sales.

This helped swell the appeal from around £8,000 to more than £20,000 in just 10 months. The final total was achieved after Sarah received a £26,000 grant from the Civil Service Benevolent Fund, which helps people in hardship.

“It was just disbelief when they told us we had the grant,” said Sarah, 39.

“I thought they were having a laugh and made them repeat it to me to make sure. When I told the rest of the family and people at work, it was very emotional.”

The money will be used to build a lift in the family home, a specially adapted bathroom, with a hoist for Megan, and a sensory area.

The changes will allow Megan, who suffers from development delay, to have access to the first floor and mean she can move around more safely – something the family never imagined would be possible after they were told an estimate for the work had risen by £25,000 earlier this year.

“We thought we had weeks, months, years ahead of us, but it has all fallen into place,” said Sarah.

“It is overwhelming. A million thank yous to everyone who has helped.”

Work on the project is expected to cost £76,000, with a £30,000 disability facility grant coming from Babergh District Council.

The build is due to start in February and last 16 weeks.