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Thursday, 18 December 2014

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US television star gives £5,000 to help Lillie-Mai Jackson

A Maryport tot who lost both legs and an arm after being struck down by meningitis has been given £5,000 by a Hollywood starlet.

AnnaLynne McCord, who stars in American TV series 90210, was so touched by Lillie-Mai Jackson’s plight that she donated the cash.

Lillie-Mai, who celebrated her first birthday last Friday, was 14 weeks old when she had to have her limbs amputated.

To give her a chance at living a ‘normal’ life, her parents Belinda Little and Rupert Jackson, of Hillside, and their family began fund-raising to buy Lillie-Mai flexible prosthetic legs, not available on the NHS.

Generous West Cumbrians had already raised £55,000 in five months and AnnaLynne’s donation brings the total to £60,000.

The star, who said she had to help, has her own charitable clothing line and is a Goodwill Ambassador for the Blind Project. She plays Naomi Clark in the hit TV series.

She said: “I was so affected by Lillie-Mai’s bravery and spirit I was delighted to help in just a small way.

“Her story is so moving it is impossible not to be affected by it. Her parents have gone through absolute hell but are determined to do everything they can to support her and are doing such a great job in raising the profile of this disease.

“I would urge everyone to do their best to help them in any way they can and I cannot wait to travel to the UK to meet her.”

The money raised so far means that she will now be able to have prosthetic limbs until the age of eight.

Belinda, Rupert and grandmother Margaret Little have vowed to continue fund-raising until Lillie-Mai no longer needed the money.

Margaret said: “We have had amazing support from businesses and people. I am also grateful to the small band of family and friends who have helped with every fund-raising venture. Then there are the strangers who have donated money to help Lillie to walk. We can’t say how grateful we are.”

Much of the cash raised for Lillie-Mai has come from people holding events across West Cumbria, including the Huntsman pub in Cockermouth, which raised £350 so far, Moo-Mania, a music all-dayer in Workington which raised £500 and Richard Farish organised a car wash, which raised £100.

Meredyth Bell, a Cockermouth dentist, donated £110 and Solway Riders gave £750.

There have been some major donations, including £10,000 from Jonathan Brown, of Highland Farms, £9,000 from Timothy Brown. £5,000 from James Watson, £1,000 from Lakes Homecentre, Cockermouth and Grants Smokehouse in Maryport, where staff donated an hour’s wage and management pledged to double it.

A trust has been set up for Lillie-Mai. Donations can be made to the Lillie-Mai Trust at any branch of the Cumberland Building Society.

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