Emma Dickman had surgery during the summer to help her walk, but some of her hardest work is yet to come.
The Dublin 7-year-old suffers from cerebral palsy, but isn't letting that keep her from her dream of walking.
With surgery and the support of the Dublin community, Emma is undergoing physical therapy to help her reach her goal.
Several fundraisers have already been held and tonight, Thursday, Sept. 19, the Jerome and Coffman high school soccer teams will work to raise money to help fund physical therapy for Emma.
"The soccer boosters traditionally support some organization when Coffman plays Jerome," said Stacy Warner, a member of the Jerome High School Soccer Boosters. "Last year it was Kick it for Kaiser."
This year, the teams are focusing on a very local issue.
Emma attends Riverside Elementary School; her mother, Amanda, is a teacher at Karrer Middle Sch-ool and her father, Steve, is an intervention specialist at Jerome High School.
"With us hosting the game, Jerome wanted to find something near and dear to our hearts," Warner said.
"Steve is our JVB coach and Emma comes to a lot of his games. It seemed like a natural fit."
Fundraising has already been done to help the family pay for the surgery in St. Louis that removed a layer of bone from the spine and removed nerves that cause tightness in Emma's muscles.
"Surgery went well," Amanda Dickman said. "She recovered quickly and resumed physical therapy the next day."
Physical therapy started through Children's Hospital when the family returned to Columbus from St. Louis.
Sessions focus on strengthening muscles, balance and walking, with the assistance of a walker.
"(Emma) started with one hour a day, five days a week, but has cut down to four days a week due to after school availability," Dickman said.
"We also continue her stretching/ exercise routine at home."
Even though surgery was successfully completed, Emma still has a lot of work in front of her.
"Emma's progress has been steady since her surgery," Dickman said.
"With continued therapy and determination, we expect great success," she said.
"The surgery is not an easy fix; it requires a lot of dedication from Emma and from us.
"We are here to provide all the support we can every step of the way," Dickman said.
The Sept. 19 fundraiser includes the junior varsity and varsity soc- cer games between Coffman and Jerome.
"Both schools are selling T-shirts at lunchtime and during the games," Steve Dickman said, adding a silent auction and other activities are also planned.
"We want to heighten awareness of cerebral palsy and help the Dickmans," Warner said. "It's such a great community event."