Two little girls with Cerebral Palsy from Cavan & Meath are learning to walk independently following a life-changing operation overseas. Theynow desperately need funds to pay for their post-op therapy and equipment. KravMaga Ireland is hosting a Women Only self-defence course in Dublin on 8th May to raise funds.
“Mammy look! I’m doing it!”.
These are the words 6 year old Casey Fitzgerald called excitedly to her mother last month, just 8 weeks after she had undergone a life changing operation in the UK. What she was doing was walking independently. Using crutches she had taken 7 steps and followed her mother, Tracey, out into the hallway, something she had never been able to do before.
Casey, from Mullagh, Co Cavan, was born with Diplegia, a form of Cerebral Palsy which restricts her movement and causes mobility issues as well as tiredness and pain. The muscles in her legs appear tight and stiff, are unable to move freely or support her.
Eight year old Kayley Dunne living nearby in Navan, Co Meath, has the same condition. It was Kayley’s mother, Jacky, who first heard about a procedure called Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR*) which can improve the motor function and quality of life of many children with CP.
Kayley, who was unable to stand unaided or walk independently, underwent the operation in the US nearly 18 months ago. She can now take about 45 steps on her own and uses crutches to get around the rest of the time. This is unbelievable progress considering her parents were told by Irish consultants the operation would leave their daughter wheelchair bound for life.
In January this year Casey was one of the first Irish children to be able to avail of the procedure in the UK. Both girls are making fantastic progress and are on schedule to reach their goals of being able to dispense with their wheelchairs and walk unaided.
But this delicate surgery does not come cheap and it is followed by 2 years of intense physiotherapy, special equipment and follow-up appointments in America and the UK. Both families were turned down by the HSE’s Purchase Treatment Fund. Then, due to a seemingly bizzare twist of beaurocracy, because they then raised funds for the operations themselves (€62,000 to date for Kayley and €44,000 for Casey) they now do not qualify for assistance with the expensive, but highly necessary post-operative equipment .
Physiotherapy is a vital part of the girls’ treatment with an intensive 3 sessions per week required for the first 6 months, reducing gradually over the following 18 months. Casey was initially promised two days per week from the HSE, this has already dropped to one day but it is expected – like Kayley’s physiotherapy – the service will soon stop altogether. As a result both families must find the €600 required for physio every month as well as monies for equipment and travel expenses for the next few years. Finances are running low. Casey’s fund is down to just €2,000; Kayley’s isn’t far behind.
KravMaga Ireland, is hosting “Fight for Casey & Kayley”, an evening self-defence course for women on Tuesday, 8th May. Taking place in D4 Hotel, Ballsbridge from 7 – 10pm places must be pre-booked. The cost is €25 and all profits will be shared equally between the funds for the two young girls. To make a donation to Casey and Kayley visit: www.sponsor.ie/maria-poole/ladies-self-defense-in-aid-of-caseys-dream-appeal/
Unlike traditional martial arts which take years to learn, KravMaga moves are all based on natural instinct so they can be picked up quickly and used effectively by virtually everyone regardless of age, gender, strength or level of fitness.
“This is the second time we have organised a fund-raiser for this cause and it’s great to see the wonderful progress both girls have made”, says Patrick Cumiskey who introduced KravMaga to Ireland 10 years ago. “Casey and Kayley are obviously both little fighters and they desperately need the funds to ensure their treatment continues so they can achieve more independence and a brighter future. Any woman taking part in “Fight for Casey & Kayley” will not only be learning a potentially life-saving skill for themselves, they’ll be helping two fantastic young girls at the same time”.
To book your place on the “Fight for Casey & Kayley” email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call Patrick Cumiskey on 087 2390398. For more information on the self-defence technique which teaches regular people how to protect themselves visit www.kravmagaireland.com.
To make a donation to Casey and Kayley visit: www.sponsor.ie/maria-poole/ladies-self-defense-in-aid-of-caseys-dream-appeal/