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Sunday 4 December 2016

Life-changing op to help Casey dance after €30,000 raised

Elaine Keogh

Published 09/01/2012 | 05:00

Six-year-old Casey Fitzgerald, who
has cerebral palsy, will be able to
dance like her idol, Sweet Surprise,
who starred on TV show 'Got To
Dance'.
Six-year-old Casey Fitzgerald, who has cerebral palsy, will be able to dance like her idol, Sweet Surprise, who starred on TV show 'Got To Dance'.

A YOUNG girl will finally achieve her dream of being able to dance after generous fundraisers raised €30,000 for a life-changing operation.

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Casey Fitzgerald (6) has been unable to walk properly because she suffers from cerebral palsy -- but next week she is to undergo a life-changing operation.

Her mother Tracey (37) said her daughter will not be held back by her illness and her plight has resulted in more than the €30,000 needed for the operation being raised by the public since last June.

What Casey really wants is to be able to dance like the six-year-old girl who is currently starring in the TV show 'Got To Dance'. The high kicks and faultless tumbling by 'Sweet Surprise' are not for the faint-hearted.

Her audition has been watched countless times by Casey, who said: "I want to dance like her one day."

"When she first saw the audition Casey jumped up and said 'I'm going to do that when I get my new legs'," said Tracey.

The muscles in her legs are stuck in one position and it has left her with very restricted movement and she has to use a special type of walker, which she stands behind her, when she walks.

To realise her dream Casey needs an operation called 'selective dorsal rhizotomy' which will straighten her legs and increase her balance by 50pc.

"She will need two years of intensive physiotherapy and then she will be able to ride a bike," said Ms Fitzgerald, from their home in Mullagh, Co Cavan.

It is a procedure on the spinal nerves within the spinal cord during which the neurosurgeon tests each nerve individually and then severs the nerves that cause the spasticity or tightness.

Ms Fitzgerald knows her daughter will have a tough road to recovery ahead of her, but she will be with her all the way. "There is intensive physiotherapy for two years afterwards, and that is an extra expense that will cost as much as the operation has."

Ms Fitzgerald has been amazed at the generosity of people who are continuing to fundraise for Casey's aftercare and the family of Kayley Dunne (7), who had the operation last year and whose family have been a huge support to Ms Fitzgerald and Casey.

One group, based in Drumlish, Co Longford, raised a staggering €22,000 towards the cost of Casey's operation.

It will be carried out in the Frenchay hospital in Bristol in two weeks. "They are confident she will be an independent walker afterwards," said Ms Fitzgerald.

Donations can be made to Permanent TSB, Navan, Co Meath, sort code 99-06-15, account number 19137820.

Irish Independent

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