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Thursday 22 February 2018

Brave teen to have surgery

Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

AN IRISH teen born without limbs who earned worldwide plaudits for an inspirational United Nations address is to undergo major surgery.

Joanne O'Riordan (16) from Millstreet, Co Cork was chosen by the UN to be just one of seven speakers to address a special forum on technology in New York last month.

The Transition Year student delivered a remarkable address -- and became an Internet sensation with thousands of people blogging about how her remarkable courage in the face of adversity had proved inspirational.

Joanne's address was focused on how technology had helped transform her life.

She was born with a condition known as Amelia -- leaving her without properly formed arms and legs.

As a further complication, Joanne was also born with scoliosis or curvature of the spine.

Operation

She was scheduled to undergo major surgery last month as part of her scoliosis treatment -- but the operation was postponed to allow her travel to the UN in New York.

Joanne will now have the surgery next month -- but will still be able to attend a special upcoming edition of 'The Late Late Show' to mark the 50th anniversary of the RTE programme.

The Cork teen's UN invitation came just months after she made national headlines -- including the front page of the Irish Independent -- with an open letter to Taoiseach Enda Kenny about proposed cutbacks to disability supports.

Her brother, Steven, is currently producing a documentary film about Joanne which will be entitled: 'No Limbs, No Limits'.

UK channels including the BBC and Channel 5 have expressed an interest in the documentary.

It will deal with how Joanne uses technology to live as normal a life as possible -- and to pursue her studies.

Irish Independent

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