A LITTLE girl's wish to walk unaided has been given a big boost by Crystal Palace FC. Eight-year-old Scarlett Hewitt, who struggles to walk due to her cerebral palsy, was carried across the pitch at Selhurst Park by Palace winger Yannick Bolasie, to take her place as one of the team's mascots before the match against Man City. The youngster was invited to join her favourite team to boost her family's efforts to raise £65,000 so she can have an operation in America that will help her walk unaided. The New Addington-based family also carried out a collection at the match and, with the help of 20-odd bucket shakers, collected about £2,700 from generous football fans. Scarlett's mum, Lisa Hewitt, said: "It was brilliant. Scarlett loved it, she really enjoyed it. It was really quite emotional. "Seeing her walk out I thought, 'There's my little girl,' and then when he picked her up, I started to bawl a little bit." Her daughter chose to walk out with Bolasie because his number seven is also the number of her Palace shirt, her mum said. But his carrying her was impromptu. "He has put the picture on his Facebook page and said he hoped she enjoyed the day," Mrs Hewitt added. Crystal Palace has also invited the family to the training ground to be presented with a cheque following a whip-round among players. The amount raised is thought to be around £5,000. The money the family are trying to raise will pay for Scarlett's selective dhorsal rhizotomy operation at the St Louis Children's Hospital in Missouri. It will also take care of flights and rehabilitation therapy. Their efforts have provoked a huge response from the local and wider community since they started trying to raise the cash in March, when Scarlett was accepted for the operation. As of Monday they had raised £19,545.60 - with most of that coming from friends, family and strangers organising everything from coffee mornings and fun days to sponsored skydives and a Palace memorabilia auction. Mrs Hewitt added: "It has been amazing, really, quite overwhelming. There are people out there, complete strangers to us, doing things to help." It is hoped the operation will take place in October.
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