US surgery is first step to freedom
Mum’s brave quest to help daughter walk unaided Matilda Centre is waltzing back
MOST mums experience the joy of seeing their children take their first wobbly steps when they are still babies, but Aisling Crehan is moving heaven and earth to see her daughter Ciara take those first steps at the age of four.
The Cairns girl has cerebral palsy-spastic diplegia and has never walked unaided.
Her mother has searched every corner of the internet to find a way for Ciara to walk, run and jump like other kids.
Thanks to her mum, Ciara has been accepted at the Centre for Cerebal Palsy Spasticity in St Louis in the US for cutting-edge spinal surgery.
If successful, she will leave her four wheels behind and walk independently.
Dr TS Park has pioneered the technique of Singlelevel Laminoplasty Intraoperative Electrophysiology (SLIE), which involves the opening of one spinal vertebrae to ease spastic diplegia and allow more ease of movement and lessen pain. This operation can only be performed once. There is no second chance.
Children’s Health Queensland prefers Multilevel Laminoplasty, which involves more than one vertebrae.
“I dream of her having a new set of legs, strong and reliable. It would feel like a miracle,” Ms Crehan, of Trinity Beach, told The Sunday Mail.
“My whole life is dedicated to getting Ciara a better quality of life.
“Every mum wants the best for their children and after surgery and a period of rehab, there will be no stopping my little girl on her new legs.’’
But this miracle comes at a big price. The family needs to raise $150,000 to get to the MATILDA will resume her waltz next weekend, as Winton reopens the famous centre dedicated to Australia’s national song.
The Waltzing Matilda Centre, which burned down in 2015, will be reopened by Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in a star-studded US for the operation and subsequent rehabilitation.
Botox has played a big role in keeping little Ciara mobile to date. She is injected in her left hamstring and bilateral calf muscles every six months by a visiting pediatric rehabilitation specialist from Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital (LCCH) in Brisbane.
“Botulinum toxin A injections have proven to help reduce spasticity in Ciara’s affected muscles and improve function when combined with therapy and other physical treatments,’’ a LCCH spokesman said.
“A very limited number of children in Australia are assessed as suitable for the (Multilevel) procedure each year, which is why only a small number of pediatric neurosurgeons are trained to perform it. The Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital has the only neurosurgeon who can do the procedure in Queensland.’’ weekend of festivities.
Jessica Mauboy, John Williamson, the Living End, Sheppard, the Black Sorrows, the Pierce Brothers, Busby Marou, Russell Morris and, from the US, Kip Moore and Lee Brice will all perform in some of the town’s pubs and clubs as well as at two outdoor concerts.
The centre, which opened in 1998, is the first museum dedicated to Australia’s most widely recognised song, penned by Banjo o Paterson (pictured d as statue) in 1885 5 and first performed in public at Winton’s North Grego- ry Hotel. The new, w, expanded $23 mil- lion centre is cer- tain to restore e vitality to the town which has also received a boost from March rains.
WALK OF LIFE: Ciara, 4, could walk for the first time unaided thanks to mum Aisling Crehan’s efforts to raise money to pay for lifechanging surgery. Picture: Brian Cassey