By Kirsty McCormack
The Italian star has decided to help three-year-old Ollie Dodds, from Lichfield, who suffers from spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy which prevents him from walking, standing and even sitting up straight.
After researching the condition, Ollie’s parents Hayley Smith and James Dodds discovered Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) treatment, which can benefit children with cerebral palsy.
Unfortunately, the £36,000 procedure is not funded by the NHS which left Hayley, 23, and James, 31, with a huge bill to help transform their son’s life.
The couple decided to launch the Operation Ollie appeal to find £50,000 to pay for the treatment as well as travel costs to St Louis Children’s Hospital in Missouri in the US which specialises in SDR.
The former I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here contestant pledged £5,000 to the appeal a few weeks ago and followed it up with a donation of £4,250 earlier this month.
“It’s very touching,” Hayley said of his donation. “We have just been amazed by his generosity.
“We went to Bolton Food Festival where he was giving a cookery class to thank him in person. He was such a nice guy, very genuine and made time for us.”
Hayley and James have now raised over £20,000 towards their target thanks to Gino’s generosity and fundraising stunts, including a 24-hour sponsored tennis match in Birmingham last month.
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