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Sunday 15 September 2019

Rory's mum 'cried for hours' after Irish football star donated €5k towards life-changing surgery

Shauna with her four-year-old Rory
Shauna with her four-year-old Rory
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

Irish football star Seamus Coleman has made a family’s dream come true by donating €5,000 to help four-year-old Rory get life-saving changing in the US.

Rory Gallagher (4) from Sligo was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at eight months old and his family told he’d never walk or talk.

Four-year-old Rory
Four-year-old Rory

His family are trying to raise €80,000 for at least two major surgeries in the US in the coming months to help Rory walk independently.

Rory’s mum, Shauna told she “cried for hours” when she saw Coleman’s kind donation.

“I’m so shocked. It’s so generous. I was sitting at the kitchen table with my husband Gerry and I saw the money come through the GoFundMe page and I couldn’t believe it. Seamus has no idea what he has done for our family,” Rory’s mum Shauna told

The family who are all Sligo Rovers’ fans have never met Coleman and said they are “overwhelmed” by his kindness.

“I sat crying in the kitchen for hours when I saw his donation. I can’t believe somebody would do that for our little Rory.”

Shauna said that Rory hasn’t been well recently and the family received devastating news that 30pc of Rory’s hip is dislocated.

“If it reaches 40pc he won’t be able to walk and it can pop out at any moment leaving him in excruciating pain. We’re facing two major surgeries in the US.”

On December 4 the family are heading to St Louis Children's Hospital in Missouri where Rory will undergo a second hip surgery.

Rory can now walk with his walker, despite being told he'd have to be in a wheelchair
Rory can now walk with his walker, despite being told he'd have to be in a wheelchair

At two years old Rory had his first surgery at the hospital.

Selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) surgery is a procedure that treats muscle spasticity caused by abnormal communication among the brain, spinal cord, nerves and muscles.

“Rory’s legs were so tight with pain that he was in excruciating pain. He couldn’t walk but eight days after the surgery he took his first steps. I bawled my eyes out,” said Shauna.

“After the surgery the HSE sent us a letter saying how successful the surgery was despite them putting us off it.”

Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlon will be taking part in the 'Hell and Back' fundraiser
Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlon will be taking part in the 'Hell and Back' fundraiser

Shauna said the first surgery in America “changed the family’s life” and every day they see Rory walking they watch in awe.

“Watching him walk was something I can’t even describe. Nobody with a child who walks can understand.”

With at least two major US surgeries ahead, the young family are at a loss of how they will pay for them.

“At the minute we’re trying to raise €80,000 for the surgery in December. We’ve raised €15,000 so far but we’ve a long way to go.

“We have our house up for sale which is very emotional because my husband built it but we’d do anything for Rory. He’s our little gift.”

The family are also hosting a ‘Hell and Back’ fundraiser in October 8 in Sligo to help raise the much needed funds.

Rory was born eight weeks early and nurse said he was “perfect”.

“Eight months later we noticed Rory wasn’t reaching his milestones. The physiotherapist said she thought he had brain damage and I stormed out and bawled the whole way home.

Within a few weeks Rory was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

“I was told he would never walk or talk and that he’d be in a wheelchair and nappies for the rest of his life. I cried for hours and spent months in bed with depression. Nobody wants a child with a disability. My husband had to take over everything because I couldn’t accept it.

“After a series of anti-depressants and exercise I began to look more positively and began looking up these surgeries in the US.

Rory has two siblings Kyle (17) and Lily (12) who help look after him.

“Lily is like a second mammy to him. She always says she’ll love him no matter what.

“It’s been harder on Kyle because he’s always wanted a little brother to play football with and Rory can’t be active. Kyle even came to the baby scan because he wanted to see if he was getting a baby brother. It’s been hard on everyone.”

You can donate to little Rory’s fund here or on their Facebook page here

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