independent

Sunday 21 July 2019

Family seek volunteers to help raise funds

Happy Feet for Sophia needs to get €100,000 for vital surgery in United States

A campaign has been launched to help raise €100,000 for Sophia Griffin who was diagnosed with Spastic Diplegic Cerebral Palsy and PVL of the brain just after her second birthday in 2017
A campaign has been launched to help raise €100,000 for Sophia Griffin who was diagnosed with Spastic Diplegic Cerebral Palsy and PVL of the brain just after her second birthday in 2017

Margaret Roddy

The parents of little Dundalk girl who needs to travel to the United States for life changing surgery are appealing for people to support them in their fundraising efforts.

Gerry and Catriona Griffin, are hoping to raise €100,000 so that they can bring their daughter Sophia to the United States to have revolutionary surgery performed by top Neurosurgeon Dr. T. S. Park in St. Louis's Children's Hospital Missouri.

Sophia was diagnosed with Spastic Diplegic Cerebral Palsy and PVL (Periventricular Leukomalcia) of the brain just after her second birthday in 2017.

Having announced late last year that they are embarking on a fundraising campaign so that Sophia can get the surgery she needs, Catriona says that they are overwhelmed by the task of organising events as well as caring for Sophia and her siblings.

They are, she admits finding it hard to ask for money 'but Sophia is our main priority and we will do whatever it takes.'

'We are asking for people to help us,' continues Catriona. 'We would love to form a committee that we will be a part of but which also gives us time to look after Sophia's needs. It would be an ideal way to come up with fundraising ideas.'

While the official launch of the Happy Feet for Sophia campaign takes place in The Lisdoo on March 22, the first fund raising event is happening on February 23, with a bucket collection outside SuperValu Fairways.

'We have other events planned, including a bag packing at Dunnes' Neighbourhood Store, Muirhevnamor on March 16, a 24 hour 5lm walk on June 22, as well as a sponsored sky dive,' says Catriona. 'A number of people have said that they will organise events and others are raising sponsorship for taking part in marathons.'

The family are grateful to local shops and businesses who have taken the Happy Feet for Sophia collection boxes.

'We've been given a date in May 2020 for Sophia to have her surgery but if we get enough funds raised sooner, they said they would put us on the cancellation list,' says Catriona.

'The sooner Sophia gets the surgery the better so that there's less risk of deformities or of the spasticity getting worse.'

Catriona reveals that Sophia 'is getting a lot weaker on her right side', having gone through a growth spurt.

'Her mobility will decrease as she gets older unless she gets this surgery.'

And it's not just a question of mobility, as Sophia suffers from pain caused by the spasticity, which causes her to waken during the night crying.

If anyone would like to help with the fundraising campaign, they can get in touch via the Happy Feet for Sophia Facebook page.

The Argus

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