Portballintrae Boat Club's generous £10,000 donation transforms little Joniece's life

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
In an incredible display of community spirit, Portballintrae Boat Club has donated £10,000 to the GoFundMe campaign for Joniece Sheppard, a four-year-old girl with cerebral palsy.

This heartwarming contribution was made in less than 24 hours after the fundraiser was set up.

Joniece’s father, Matthew Sheppard, took to social media to express his overwhelming gratitude. "You lot are bloody amazing," he said. "Less than 24 hours after setting up Joniece’s GoFundMe, we have overshot the target. This surgery was our number one objective, and we didn’t actually think we would hit the target but were hopeful it would be something to help."

The generosity has not only met the initial goal but exceeded it, allowing for the possibility of providing Joniece with specialised equipment and aftercare.

Joniece Sheppard, a four-year-old girl with cerebral palsyJoniece Sheppard, a four-year-old girl with cerebral palsy
Joniece Sheppard, a four-year-old girl with cerebral palsy

Matthew shared: "With more donations coming in and events still to happen, we are now in a situation where we can offer Joniece even more of the things we only dreamed of, like specialised equipment and aftercare. We can also help other families who have been a rock of support to us throughout."

The funds will go towards a life-changing surgery for Joniece, who has faced numerous health challenges due to her condition. Her feeding has been done through an NG tube, leading to severe discomfort and frequent hospital admissions. The only viable solution is a PEG tube, but the waiting list for this procedure is five years long.

Matthew explained the dire situation, "Joniece’s current feeding method requires her to remain stationary for 16 hours a day, preventing her from attending Sandelford School, where she receives essential therapies and social development. She has had multiple failed attempts to place an NJ tube, leading to excessive radiation exposure. The PEG tube surgery would greatly improve her quality of life, but the NHS waiting list is just too long."

The private sector surgery, which the donations will fund, promises a quicker resolution, alleviating the distressing daily routine Joniece endures. Matthew’s heartfelt plea on the fundraising page detailed the extent of Joniece’s struggles and the urgent need for the procedure.

"Thank you for taking the time to read this, and we wish you well," Matthew said.

The Sheppard family’s gratitude to the community and beyond is palpable as they prepare to provide Joniece with the life-saving surgery she so desperately needs. The outpouring of support not only brings hope to Joniece but also highlights the remarkable power of community solidarity in times of need.

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.