A severely-disabled Bradford youngster is hoping to jet off to Cyprus for pioneering acid treatment by Russian doctors to improve her quality of life.

Nine-year-old Rebecca Illand has cerebral palsy and microcephaly - a condition which affects the size of the brain.

Her physical and mental disability leaves her with hardly any communication skills or mobility and she needs round-the-clock care.

But following a visit to a Russian clinic on the holiday island, Rebecca's parents have seen a vast improvement in their youngest daughter.

The clinic uses amino acids taken in capsules to stimulate dormant brain cells.

But the cost of treatment is £1,500 a visit, plus flights and accommodation in Cyprus.

The total cost of one trip could cost Rebecca's parents Carole and Stephen around £3,000.

Experts believe a minimum of six visits are needed for the treatment to have a significant effect.

Mrs Illand, of Wrose, said: "I'm normally pessimistic, but we have been amazed by the changes in Rebecca.

"Since the treatment she has started playing with her toys, something she has never done before. It's wonderful.

"She has also started making sounds when she is happy and is forming her mouth into different shapes to make noises.

"She is also sitting up straighter and is able to move her head better."

Her family is still remaining cautious about the future.

Mrs Illand, 40, gave up a part-time job to care for Rebecca. Mr Illand, 40, works as a printer at Ernest Cummins, in Canal Road, Bradford.

The couple, who have an older daughter, 15-year-old Hayley, are hoping to make another visit to Cyprus later this year.

Mrs Illand said: "If we feel the treatment is not having an effect we will give it up.

"We are still not trying to get carried away."

A charity auction to raise funds for Rebecca's next trip to Cyprus is being held in St Cuthbert's Church Hall, Wrose, on Saturday, May 9.

Viewing is at 11am with bidding at noon. Anyone wishing to donate goods for the auction is asked to contact Mrs Illand on 0 1274 611635.

Converted for the new archive on 30 June 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.