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€100,000 fund sends Zara (10) to Spain for life-saving surgery

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Zara and her family have been overwhelmed by the donations to help pay for her surgery in Spain. Photo: Arthur Ellis

Zara and her family have been overwhelmed by the donations to help pay for her surgery in Spain. Photo: Arthur Ellis

Zara and her family have been overwhelmed by the donations to help pay for her surgery in Spain. Photo: Arthur Ellis

A 10-year-old Co Clare girl is ready to undergo life-saving surgery in Spain after almost €100,000 was collected for the procedure, which is not available in Ireland or the UK.

Zara O'Gorman, from Dysert, needs surgery after being diagnosed earlier this year with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, an illness that affects connective tissue. Since the fundraising began in June, €99,874 has been lodged to an account for her medical, surgical and post-op care.

Zara's mother Ann O'Gorman said: "I am so grateful to every person who has contributed, either financially or by way of practical support."

Zara has been through a rigorous sequence of procedures with medical professionals in Ireland and the UK. After she was first diagnosed by a Cork-based consultant and rheumatologist, she was then referred to the London Hypermobility Clinic for children with EDS.

While cranio-cervical fusion surgery can be carried out in Ireland and the UK, the same procedure cannot be carried out where there is a diagnosis of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. The only European surgeon specialising in this field is based at the Teknon Medical Centre in Barcelona, Spain.

Meanwhile, following a meeting with Health Minister Simon Harris this week, Zara's mother has been advised to go to the European Reference Network, a network of medical professionals who will decide on the best approach to be taken in the treatment of her daughter.

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