Young brothers start fundraiser to help get their sister life-changing surgery

Gardaí helped the brothers kick off their fundraiser

Louise Kennedy

TWO kind-hearted young boys have kicked off a fundraising drive to help her get their little sister life-changing surgery in the United States.

Alex (11) and Jamie O’Brien (10) did a 5KM run around their neighbourhood in the Littlepace and Ongar area in west Dublin to raise money for their sister Sienna (3), who has Diplegia Cerebral Palsy.

Gardaí were on hand to ensure they crossed the road safely and escorted them home where they were met by family and neighbours.

Sienna’s parents, Lesley Anne and Ciarán, are fundraising in order to pay for the Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) surgery, which is only performed in the US.

Lesley Anne said her son Jamie also has cerebral palsy and has been training with his brother Alex for weeks to run the 5KM.

“They got out and they ran 5KM and they fundraised €2,000 just in the little estate we live in.

“Their teachers were there at the house cheering them on and all the neighbours,” she said.

Lesley said the gardaí in the community played a huge role in the fundraiser.

“I rang Blanchardstown Garda Station and I said ‘this is what we’re doing’ and the guards said ‘we would only be delighted to help, we love doing stuff like this’.

“The guards came down and they were so lovely to the kids and they escorted them step-by-step to the 5KM and even came with us to the finishing line,” she said.

The family has also set up a GoFundMe page for Sienna with a goal of €120,000 which they hope to reach by September.

Writing on the GoFundMe page, Sienna’s parents said: “We have decided to take Sienna to St Louis in America for life-changing SDR surgery.

“Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) is an operation used to reduce spasticity (muscle stiffness) in some children with cerebral palsy.

“SDR is a surgical procedure performed on these spinal nerve fibres to reduce levels of spasticity in the legs.”

The family said that the procedure is currently not available in Ireland and America is the best place to go in order to give Sienna the best opportunity to walk in the future.

“The amount of Irish families who have done this is unbelievable.

“So many Irish families have gone and done exactly what I’m doing and the success rate is amazing,” she said.

Lesley said it’s been an extremely challenging year for her family.

“I’m a mother-of-five, I’m a hairdresser. I don’t work anymore because I’m a carer. My husband is in the fire brigade, it’s been an absolute disaster of a year for our family,” she added.

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