The final steps of £40,000 effort for mum’s MS treatment

Louise with her daughters Grace and Molly
Louise with her daughters Grace and Molly

A mum is heading to Mexico for life-changing treatment after her daughters organised a show-stopping finale to her fundraising campaign.

Louise Canning’s friends and family have helped to reach almost £40,000 towards the cost of specialist chemotherapy to treat her MS.

The girls from the Wolds Academy of Dance who took part in the show at the Spotlight Theatre on Sunday night

The girls from the Wolds Academy of Dance who took part in the show at the Spotlight Theatre on Sunday night

The final £1,000 to get her to her target came at an emotional dance show at the Spotlight Theatre in Bridlington on Sunday.

Her daughters, Grace, 16, and Molly, 12, produced and organised the show, which featured their friends from the Wolds Academy of Dance.

Louise, who choreographed the dance routines for Bridlington Spa’s pantomime for four years, said: “The girls have been amazing. I hope they realise what they have achieved.”

Louise runs the Wolds Academy of Dance and her students took to the stage to round off her life-changing campaign which has seen her collect thousands of pounds in a matter of months.

Louise Canning

Louise Canning

“It was an amazing night and a lovely thing for them to do,” she told the Free Press.

“We are not a massive school, we only had 15 students involved in the concert.

“We might be small but we pack a punch and I will be so sad that we have to close in March.

“Who knows what the future holds but if I can recover from the treatment, one of my goals would be to start it up again.”

Louise with her daughters. She flies to Mexico in August.

Louise with her daughters. She flies to Mexico in August.

Louise raised $54,500 (around £38,000) which will cover the cost of the treatment and flights for her and her mum, Chris, to Mexico.

“It has all been done through fundraising,” she said. “Parents of children at the dance school held cake bakes, table-top sales and race nights since October and a Just Giving page raised £9,100.

“People I don’t even know have given money. It is just amazing.

“When I finally sit down in Mexico, I will stop and think ‘did this really happen?’ It’s so hard to believe.”

The finale was Sunday’s show at the Spotlight in West Street, which was full to capacity. Grace and Molly had wanted the whole show to be a surprise but Louise had managed to persuade them to let her have some involvement.

However, there were still some parts they had been able to keep under their hats.

“There were three or four things they managed to keep secret,” said Louise. “It was gob-smacking and so humbling.

“It was a brilliant night and I was overwhelmed. I can’t believe what they have achieved.

“They started the second half of the show with personal messages from the students on the big screen, some of them saying I had been like a second mum to them.

“I have just tried to give them confidence and hope I have helped them a bit on their journey.”

She will now fly to Mexico in April. “Last year has been an emotional one, a trying and stressful year, but ‘do nothing and wait and see’ was not really an option,” Louise added.

Louise first noticed symptoms which would lead to her diagnosis in 2013 when she was choreographing the pantomime at Bridlington Spa.

She said: “I remember doing rehearsals and my left leg was locking back and I just thought I was tired and not eating properly.

“But I was on holiday the following year and my speech went funny two or three times. I knew what I wanted to say but the words wouldn’t come out.”

Months of tests eventually showed she had MS. The treatment she is going to Mexico for is available in the UK, but she doesn’t meet NHS criteria and the cost of private treatment would be a six-figure sum.

Louise added: “I might qualify in two or three years but by then, the damage will be done. If I progress at the rate I have in the past year, I would be in a wheelchair by then.

“Mexico is a centre of excellence for this treatment. I will have chemotherapy and then they will reintroduce stem cells to rebuild my system.

“There is no cure but this is the newest thing there is to halt the progression of the disease.

“It’s the nearest thing there is to a cure.”