A Cork family received a surprise boost when they discovered that Ireland international James McClean had donated €1,000 to help fund Faith Browne’s life-changing operation, writes Stephen Barry.
Faith is a three-and-a-half-year-old girl from Castletownroche in County Cork who was born with an extensive brain injury. The typically bright and happy child has been diagnosed with a condition called Spastic Diplegia Cerebal Palsy and a rare hearing condition called ANSD (auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder).
That affects her lower limbs and due to stiffness, tightness and balance issues in her legs, Faith can’t walk, crawl, stand or sit up unassisted.
Her mother Lisa has told of how McClean heard of the fundraising effort for a life-changing operation in America that’ll help Faith to walk.
“A friend of ours in Mallow messaged him and asked him if he’d send on a Republic of Ireland jersey to auction it off for Faith,” Lisa told Neil Prendeville on RedFM.
“He got back to us and he said James McClean was after donating €1,000 to Faith’s GoFundMe.
“As a family, we’d like to say thank you so much to James McClean for donating that money. It’s fantastic.”
In seven months of fundraising, the Brownes have raised half of the €100,000 required for Faith’s SDR (selective dorsal rhizotomy) operation, which includes the cost of flights, accommodation, intensive physio treatment and equipment.
“Faith can’t walk, she can’t sit, she can’t stand, she’s not mobile at all,” said Lisa.
“In some children this operation has been very successful in helping a child walk. Faith has very high tone in her body and what this operation will do is rid the body of spasticity.”
You can donate at Faith’s GoFundMe page, where a post written from Faith tells that: “I find it very hard to look out at my older sister Lydia playing with her friends as I can't understand why my legs won't work like everybody else.
“It breaks my heart that I can't do the normal things my sister Lydia (10) takes for granted. Being able to walk seems so simple to others, but it is near impossible for me.
“My Mam and Dad, have been talking about an operation in America, called SDR (selective dorsal rhizotomy) this means having an operation to make my legs work properly and stop my muscles being stiff, sore and tight. The doctors will operate on my back and find the rootlets in my spine which make my legs very tight they will split them up and this will make my legs feel better and help me to walk.
“I will need to do lots of intensive physiotherapy, at least 2-3 years, 3-4 times a week, which will be hard but I just can't wait to hopefully to be able to walk with my family and sister Lydia.”