LOCAL BOY Michael Tiron walked in to school recently for the very first time.
Michael has cerebral palsy and had been in a wheelchair since he was three. Just before Christmas last year he received the best Christmas present he could ever have hoped for.
He was accepted for a lifechanging operation in America to help him to walk independently for the first time.
Michael's parents Natalija and Marcel started a fundraising drive to raise the required €60,000, in conjunction with Michael's school St. Cronan's BNS and with the support of Bray Lions Club.
The campaign ' Michael's Hope for Independence' received unprecedented support, and with the tireless work of Michael's teacher Karl Ó Broin and the entire St. Cronan's school community, together with St. Patrick's NS, Bray Lions Club, many other local schools and the entire Bray and Greystones communities, the Tiron family reached the much needed target in just 4 months.
Last August, Michael travelled to St. Louis' Children's Hospital in Missouri, and following the successful SDR (Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy) surgery which was performed by the renowned Neurosurgeon Dr TS Park, Michael's life has transformed. Just a week after the surgery, Michael was able to cycle a bicycle.
While still in aftercare in America, he started learning to walk with a walking frame which had seemed like an impossible task just months before.
'Prior to his operation, Michael had a very high level of spasticity in his body and it was very difficult for him to perform even the simplest of tasks due to this stiffness,' said his mother Natalija. ' The operation has entirely removed this stiffness, and Michael is capable of performing so many simple tasks that he would never have been able to do before.'
After four weeks of intensive physiotherapy in Missouri, Michael and his family returned to Ireland, and although this intensive physiotherapy will continue with Enable Ireland for Michael for many years now, Michael's life has been transformed.
' When we got home, Michael couldn't wait to go back to school to see his friends and show how different the life is now for him,' said his father Marcel. On his first day back Michael, for the very first time, walked into school. He was cheered in by all the boys in his class who have been so supportive of him throughout his time in school.
'On behalf of Michael and our whole family, we would like to express our most sincere thanks to the people of County Wicklow and beyond who believed in Michael and helped us to raise the funds to make this miracle a reality,' said Natalija. ' We cannot believe how generous people have been particularly in these times. God bless you!'