Irish community comes together to raise £35,000 for Ava’s life-changing operation
London’s Irish community – with a great big helping hand from its Mayo, Kerry and Cork cohorts – rallied around to help little Ava Brosnan, 5, get the operation she needs to walk. Last week the London Irish parents of 5- year old Ava asked for help to raise the remaining funds for a special procedure – not available on the NHS – to help their youngest child to walk.
No-one could help to be anything but moved by the images of Ava, her loving parents Danny and Mary, and Ava’s equally loving older brother and sister Conor and Mia. Ava, a bright, playful and intellectually curious child, has cerebral palsy which inhibits her ability walk so she uses a frame.
“I’m in shock, really, at how quickly we raised the money and how the community got behind us”
To date she has been receiving Botox injections in her legs every few months.
Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital (GOSH) carries out Selective Dorsal Rhizotomies (SDR), an operation used to ease the spasticity in the muscles of cerebral palsy, which is caused by brain injury early in life. The operation can be carried out up to the age of 12 years old and there is usually a waiting list of nine to twelve months.
The procedure is not available on the NHS. Ava’s parents, Danny, 48, and Mary, 43, from Neasden and Kingsbury appealed to their local community – and to their extended families in Kerry, Cork and Mayo – for help in making up the shortfall for the money they had scrimped together to fund the £35,000-£40,000 operation themselves.
Fearing the fundraising efforts had plateaued their appeal was also published in last week’s Irish World.
A combination of small, medium and large contributions followed, all with one thing in common, generosity and kindness of spirit.
Ava’s mum Mary said this week: “I’m in shock, really, at how quickly we raised the money and how the community got behind us. They’re fantastic. I just don’t know what to say, really.”
“We’ve also just heard that Great Ormond Street can fit Ava in for the operation in November so she’ll have a tough six months of physiotherapy afterwards and through Christmas but it’s great, we’ll get through it. She’s been fantastic, doing well at school,” said Mary.
“She’s going to be able to walk,” she said.