THE battle to buy sight for blind toddler Brooke Chilton has embraced the heart of the city this week.
Hundreds of people put coins in collecting tins outside Asda on Saturday after the Citizen printed the family’s poignant story.
The two-year-old was born with malformed optic nerves that will never let in enough light for her to see.
Doctors in this country can do nothing except help her adapt to a life of total blindness.
But thousands of miles away in China there is hope – in the form of revolutionary stem cell treatment to literally grow the optic nerves to enable Brooke to have vision.
Brooke’s family, including mum Leah, 19, and grans Dee and Dawn, have been steadily trying for 18 months to raise the £50,000 needed to pay for the treatment.
Until Saturday they were stuck at £6,000. But then Citizen readers reached into their pockets.
“The response was amazing,” said gran Dee Turner. “People were ringing up Asda and offering to donate after reading about Brooke in the Citizen.
“In just a few hours outside the store we collected £926. It was more than we ever dreamed of.”
Since then people have called the Citizen to ask if they could send a cheque for Brooke. One reader from Bletchley sent in £250 to help the toddler.
“We were so thankful and so inspired by this kindness that we decided to set up a special fundraising account in Brooke’s name,” said Dee.
The account can be reached online at www.gofundme.com/zy0do.
For those who prefer not to donate online, cheques can be sent to the Citizen offices, made out to Brooke Chilton, and we will pass them on to the family.
“We had no idea people could be so kind and would want to help,” said Dee, who works at the city’s 360 play centre in Roebuck Way.
Her ambition is see to see grandaughter enjoying all the brightly-coloured play equipment like other toddlers.
“For the first time now we have very real hope that one day Brooke will come out of her world of darkness,” said Dee.