A ROSS-SHIRE mum has spoken of her joy of witnessing improvements in her disabled daughter who has begun stem cell treatment.
Karolina Brzezinska took her little girl Klaudia (3) to Poland to receive pioneering stem cell treatment after raising £15,000 through a crowdfunding appeal.
Klaudia, who was born with a brain abnormality and is unable to speak or walk, underwent her first treatment at the end of February.
Klaudia Karolina, of Milnafua, Alness, said: "I think the treatment has changed Klaudia. Her balance is getting better and she can stand beside a wall on her own now and explore what is around her.
"She is also sitting independently and is showing more interest in things that are happening round about. She is playing with toys for the first time.
"It’s not just me who is noticing these changes, but everyone who works with her including her pre-school home visiting teacher.
"Klaudia did very well in the clinic. She was just a little bit upset because she had to get the injection in her back, but she was fine very quickly afterwards."
The treatment involves injecting healthy cells, often called stem cells, into the body to replace damaged or diseased tissue or organs.
The treatment is as yet experimental and there is no guarantee of success, but Klaudia’s family hope it help her enjoy a better quality of life.
Klaudia will return to Poland in May for her second treatment, followed by further injections in August, November and the final one in February next year.
Karolina, who works at Redwoods care home in Alness, said: "We’re very hopeful for the treatment and delighted with the changes we are seeing. I have to try everything and do what I can for Klaudia."
The local community has rallied round the family in their efforts to get the potentially life-changing treatment for Klaudia.
The £15,000 crowdfunding target was reached within four months and people continue to fundraise for the family.
Recently staff at Tesco Extra at the Retail Park in Inverness held a bucket collection in aid of Klaudia which was supported by well-known Highland piper, Spud, who famously played for rock superstar Madonna.
It was a family affair with Klaudia’s dad Tomek Michina, Karolina’s mum Kasia and sister Pati who both live in Conon Bridge, all attending.
Said Karolina: "Spud was playing the pipes at a wedding but he came along to support us. Klaudia absolutely loved the pipes! She can’t see very well but her hearing is very good. It was the first time she had heard the pipes, but she started laughing and was very excited about the music."
Staff and friends at the nursery which Klaudia attends, Ankerville in Alness, also fundraised and presented Karolina with a cheque for £2600, while employees at the Co-operative store in Alness are also staging events to help the family.
As well as the treatment, the funds will help pay for intensive physiotherapy treatment for Klaudia in Poland and which is not available in Scotland.
"People have been so kind," said Karolina.
"People are keeping us going and saying ‘you are strong and you can do it’. They are wonderful and we live in a lovely community."