Sexton donates drop goal boots to raise funds for Cork girl's surgery

Grand Slam hero Johnny Sexton is auctioning off the boots he wore when he scored the astounding drop goal against France to help a young girl pay for a life-changing surgery, writes Michelle McGlynn.

Seven-year-old Anna Browne from Mallow in Cork is currently relying on a wheelchair or buggy to get around but will eventually lose the ability to walk.

Last year, Anna was diagnosed with a significant brain injury, Bilateral PVL of the brain which has resulted in Cerebral Palsy, Spastic Displagia and Cortical Visual Impairment.

The talismanic fly-half has agreed to donate the boots he wore when he scored the famous last-minute, 42-metre drop goal that set Ireland off on the road to the historic Grand Slam.

Sexton will hold on to the boots until the end of this season which includes the Champions Cup final in Bilbao, Spain on May 11.

"Hopefully Leinster can win the Champions Cup and the boots will go up in value," he said.

The boots have already secured an anonymous bid of €10,000, according to Anna's mother Evelyn.

His godfather, Billy Keane, recently met the Browne family and was touched by Anna's story and told Sexton about their situation.

Anna will not be eligible for surgery funded by the HSE for several years and during this time her mother says that her condition is "deteriorating rapidly".

The young girl, who dreams of one day being a dancer or a goalie for Ireland, has been accepted as a candidate for Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) surgery in the US.

Evelyn believes that the operation, coupled with tailored intensive physical therapy for two years, will give Anna the ability to walk, run and dance.

The family are now faced with the task of raising €100,000 to cover the costs of the operation, therapy requirements, follow-up treatments and travel to and from the US.

At the time of writing the Anna's Dream to Dance GoFundMe page had raised over €34,833.

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