Little Keri searches for her rainbow

A BLIND schoolgirl who is to undergo a revolutionary treatment to help restore her sight has said the first things she wants to see is her mum’s face — and a rainbow.

Keri Kelly, 9, has never been able to see. She was born with optic nerve hypoplasia, which means her optic nerves have never grown.

Now a revolutionary treatment means Keri has a very good chance of having her sight restored — but it comes at a price.

Doctors have told Keri’s mum, Tracey, she is a perfect candidate for stem cell treatment in China and the operation will cost €30,000.

However, locals in Keri’s hometown of Buncrana in Co Donegal have come together to raise the money to help Keri see her mum’s face — and that rainbow.

Tracey says she doesn’t want to get her hopes up, but she can barely sleep thinking about how Keri may be able to see for the first time.

“I can’t believe it really. She is such a great girl and all she has ever wanted is to be able to see like other little girls her age.

“She told me the first things she wants to see is my face and then a rainbow. There’s a small chance it won’t work, but we’re not even thinking that way.

“We have to be positive, but the first thing we have to do is to raise the money. The people of Buncrana and Donegal have been amazing. Everyone has been so kind.

“It’s a one-in-a-million chance that Keri got this condition because it’s not hereditary or anything. Her sister, Zoe, has perfect eyesight,” she said.

Tracey is putting her own fears behind her to help raise some cash for Keri by taking part in a sponsored parachute jump in July.

“I’m absolutely terrified. I would never have dreamt of jumping out of a plane but I will do anything it takes for Keri to see. That’s all I want.

“Keri and her sister, Zoe, 5, are everything to me and it would simply change our lives if the operation was a success.”

The operation is scheduled for August 2012 and the family will have to spend 24 days in China before and after the operation.

Keri, a pupil at Scoil Iasagain in Buncrana, is perfect in every other way apart from her inability to see.

“She loves school and gets on great with everyone. Can you just imagine what a wonderful new world it would be if the operation is a success?

“The other thing she is looking forward to seeing is the moon, because her sister told her it was made of cheese. All we can do now is wait and hope that we raise the money and then the operation is a success.”

A special bank account fund, “Keri’s Search for Sight”, has been opened at the Buncrana branch of AIB and anybody wishing to do so may donate to account number 06593158, sort code 93-72-90.

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