A Dublin teen with cerebral palsy has set a date to travel to the US for 'life-changing' surgery, writes Amy Ryan.
Courtney Manning, a 19-year-old from Coolock in Dublin, lives with cerebral palsy and has seen her mobility deteriorate over the last number of years, with the likelihood that she will be wheelchair-bound in the next year.
Courtney has booked her flights to the US for November 5, 2017 so she hopes to raise the remaining €50,000 over the next two months.
In January, Courtney began campaigning to raise funds after being approved for selective dorsal rhizotomy surgery in St Louis Children's Hospital, Missouri.
SDR involves cutting of some of the sensory nerve fibres that come from the muscles and enter the spinal cord.
The hospital has said that SDR is the only surgical procedure that can provide permanent reduction of spasticity in cerebral palsy and they have had great success with patients, with certain types of CP, who have received the treatment.
Courtney has tried various treatments such as Botox and splints to alleviate the symptoms to no avail.
In March 2016, she had a major surgery on her Achilles tendon to have them lengthened however, the teenager had many complications following the surgery and it has left her in a lot of pain.
"I feel like the disability has destroyed me. I'm like a prisoner, I can't leave the house for too long because I can't walk.
"It's not a way to live, I've been weighed down," said Courtney.
Courtney has just finished her Leaving Certificate and she received all honours in her results.
"I was so happy with my results after the year I've had, I was delighted," she said.
Courtney will be having SDR surgery along with hamstring and heel chord surgery (PERCS) which means she will be having 2 surgeries in total.
She will spend 5 weeks in hospital and then have a two-year rehab programme.
The surgery will mean that she won't be confined to a wheelchair and she will be able to walk, dance and play sports, which she is unable to do now in her current condition.
The cost of the surgeries is significant but they have managed to raise €50,000 by organising fundraising events and through the generosity of strangers.
"People have been very generous, we've had anonymous donations that have really helped us along the way," said Courtney.
"I've been a very fortunate person with all the help I've gotten so far," she added.
Their total aim is €100k to cover the costs of the surgery, travel, rehab, bracing and equipment.
After Courtney has the surgery, she plans to take the year to recover and then go back to studying to join her friends in university.
"I want to study physiotherapy but the disability is stopping me at the moment, I can't live my life.
"I want to go off to college with all my friends but I can't right now," she said.
"If I don't get this surgery, my whole life is going to be crushed," she added.
If you would like to donate to help Courtney with her surgeries you can donate here.