THE family of a seriously-ill young girl have just weeks to raise £3,000 to pay for her to undergo potentially life-changing treatment in Slovakia.

Three-year-old Ava Roberts suffers from multiple seizures, which have severely limited her development – she is only now starting to crawl and roll.

But her balance was much improved by four-weeks’ intensive treatment in the USA last summer when at Therapies 4 Kids in Florida she underwent many hours of therapy using a PediaSuit, designed to stimulate muscle growth.

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The trip was so successful that Ava’s parents Mark and Judith resolved to return to Fort Lauderdale this summer.

But the couple, from Nettlesworth, County Durham, have discovered they can get the same treatment for a third of the price at the Adeli Medical Centre, in Piestany, Slovakia.

Following a tough screening process, the centre has agreed to accept Ava for two weeks’ treatment starting on Monday, July 21.

The overall cost of the trip for Mr and Mrs Roberts, Ava and their older daughter Molly is £5,500.

They have already raised £2,500, leaving them six weeks to raise the remaining £3,000.

But supporters know their campaign, dubbed Faith (For Ava’s Intensive Therapy Hope), caught the public imagination first time round, raising £12,000 in just five months.

Various fundraising events are planned, including a race night at Sunderland Dogs on Friday, June 20. Entry, a programme, a pie and pea supper and a drink costs £5 per person.

Mrs Roberts said Ava was doing quite well, starting to crawl and her head control is improving. However, her epileptic seizures remain a problem.

She hopes the Slovakian treatment will help her daughter sit unaided for the first time.

Fundraising will continue after July, as the family hopes to take Ava to Slovakia several times.

A charity ball is planned for Durham County Cricket Ground on Saturday, November 15, to mark Ava’s fourth birthday.

Ava was born healthy but stopped breathing at two days old. For more information, visit or