Boy (11) crosses Atlantic in bid to walk
AN 11-YEAR-OLD boy is to travel to the United States this summer for pioneering spine surgery that should allow him to walk for the first time.
Michael Tiron was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he was one year old and he has never been able to walk.
But late last year, he was accepted as a candidate for the innovative surgery, at the St Louis Children's Hospital in Missouri, in August, which it is hoped will reverse the nerve damage in his spine, enabling him to walk.
For Michael, being able to walk one day would be a dream come true, his mother, Natalija Tiron, who is originally from Latvia, told the Irish Independent.
"Like every other child, he'd love to get off the couch and run around outside with a football," she said.
"He still interacts with the kids and tries to play football with the other boys in his wheelchair. He's been great through all of this."
However, the operation and travel costs -- including three weeks' post-operative physiotherapy -- will cost approximately €60,000, which is not covered by the HSE.
And his parents, who live in Greystones, Co Wicklow, do not have private medical insurance.
But in conjunction with Michael's teacher, Karl O Broin, at St Cronan's school in Bray, Co Wicklow, they have launched a fundraising campaign called "Michael's Hope for Independence".
"Socially, he's incredibly good in class. He's so popular. He's such a bright and lively kid," said Mr O Broin.
"[His classmates] see a child who is different but they don't treat him any differently."
Their first event, a coffee morning at a hotel in Bray last Friday, raised more than €1,000.
"We didn't expect to get that response," said Mrs Tiron.
"I'm just amazed at how open-hearted people are here. They have been so generous."
To support the campaign, see www.MichaelsHopeFor Independence.com or