On her fifth birthday Ella Yearbury will have potentially life-changing surgery in the US which may enable her to walk and stand unaided for the first time.
Source: 1 NEWS
The only problem is Ella's family doesn't have the money needed to bring Ella home from the US to rehabilitate.
Born at 25 weeks, Ella suffered a severe brain bleed at just three days old and now suffers with cerebral palsy, hydrocephalus and epilepsy.
Source: 1 NEWS
Throughout her short life, the South Auckland toddler has endured 18 surgeries.
"She's amazing actually," her mum Kat Yearbury told 1NEWS NOW.
"Straight from her early days in NICU she was always a cheeky strong little fighter and very independent, even trying to pull tubes and things out of her nose when only a few weeks old."
For the past couple of years Ella's mum has tirelessly fundraised for her daughter's operation, a selective dorsal rhizotomy.
"It's been a little over a year that we set off on this journey with the big goal of raising $150,000," she says.
"We ran movie fundraisers, quiz nights we sold chocolate."
One attempt saw them break a Guinness World Record when nearly 1000 people dressed as fairies turned out to help fundraise for the surgery.
Sport stars such as Joseph Parker and Liam Malone have also put their names behind the cause.
Ella's surgery will take place on the May 3 in St Louis Children's Hospital.
"We don't really know what it's going to do for Ella.
"We've been given expectations, but we've sat and weighed it up enough that we know that this is an opportunity for her to have a better life."
The Yearbury family has raised $150,000 for the surgery, but due to Ella's medical conditions and sponsorship falling through, a further $90,000 is needed for her travel.
"I felt like I failed on Sunday when I realised that our sponsorship from an airline that we were hoping for was not going to happen and we were meant to be going in 10 days.
"I didn't know if whether we were just going to park the whole thing or at that time I couldn't even think of another idea to fundraise."
Air Ambulance New Zealand is giving the family two paediatric intensive care specialists to fly with the family.
Family and friends have rallied to help cover the costs, but Ms Yearbury is hoping the public who have been a large support for the family can once again help out and raise the money needed for Ella to come home and rehabilitate.
"I question it a lot that I’m making the right decision for her.
"No one has said stop and I'm not giving up anytime soon anyway."
Ella flies to Missouri on Thursday for her surgery.
If you want to help Ella, go to her website to learn more on how you can donate.
If successful Ella Yearbury will be able to walk and stand unaided for the first time.