Family thrilled as Mark walks after miracle op
An Irish family wept with joy after a miracle operation in the US proved a success and their three-year-old son is now able to walk unaided.
Kevin and Fidelma Dolan said it has been "a dream come true" to see their son, Mark, able to take his first steps unaided after pioneering surgery in Missouri, thanks to a €135,000 fundraising campaign by family, neighbours, friends and workmates.
The family, from Ahascragh in Galway, were also astounded when a charity auction in aid of their son's appeal, 'Mark's Wish To Walk', was backed by the village's most famous son, fashion designer Philip Treacy.
Mr Treacy, one of the best-known milliners in the world, insisted on designing a one-off headpiece in aid of Mark's auction yesterday.
The event also featured a football signed by the entire Manchester City team, Galway and Mayo jerseys signed by the entire senior panels, an Irish rugby ball signed by Robbie Henshaw and a pair of Tony McCoy's riding jodhpurs.
Kevin and Fidelma admitted they have been "absolutely overwhelmed" by the kindness of people.
The couple mortgaged themselves to the hilt to raise €60,000 of the estimated €135,000 cost for Mark's surgery and rehabilitation in St Louis.
Mark was born with Motor Delay Syndrome, a condition that impacts on nerves and muscles, leaving the sufferer unable to walk.
"Mark is now able to walk a few steps and he is getting stronger by the day," Kevin said. "We just weren't going to accept that Mark was going to be wheelchair-bound for the rest of his life. What parent would?" Fidelma said.
'Mark's Wish To Walk' campaign has its own Facebook page and account for donations: AIB Athlone A/C No 48349059 Sort Code 93-22-64.