Parents of two young boys with cerebral palsy have this week launched special appeals to help them obtain life-changing surgery in the US.
Paul Doherty is a 5-year-old from Gleneely, Killygordon. Tadhg Kelly is a 4-year-old Dubliner whose uncle lives on Arranmore.
Both lads are confined to wheelchairs and will be for the rest of their lives.
Unless, that is, they travel to the United States for a special surgery called Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR), at a cost of €80,000 each.
Paul’s parents, Anne Marie and Michael, have set up the ‘Mammy, I want to walk’ fund.
They’ll be outside Croke Park on Sunday, along with lots of family, friends and volunteers with collection buckets, looking for your support.
“There was recently a party with around 12 children who had the operation and 12 children who were hoping to,” Anne Marie told the Democrat. “The difference was unbelievable and we had to look into it further.”
They sent off “reams of X-Ray and MRI results” and got a letter back saying that Paul was a suitable candidate.
“Paul will always have cerebral palsy: he’ll never run a 5k,” Anne Marie explained.
“But, if after the operation, he can walk with crutches or get up from the table to get himself a glass of milk, we can’t afford not to do it.”
There’s already been a great response to the appeal, with donations and offers of help coming in from as far afield as Kilkenny.
Anne-Marie’s delighted but not taking anything for granted.
When she applied for the collection permit for this Sunday, she also applied for, and received, a permit to return on Sunday, September 21.
Tadhg’s parents, Moya and Jonathan, have also set up a fund, called ‘Tadhg’s wish to walk’.
Information on how to donate can be found on the ‘Mammy, I want to walk’ and ‘Tadh’s wish to walk’ Facebook pages.