Carrigaline family hoping to raise €100k in ten weeks to fund operation that will help little Ellie walk

Carrigaline family hoping to raise €100k in ten weeks to fund operation that will help little Ellie walk
Amy Glennon and her husband Boyhan, with daughters Ellie and Eve, who are fundraising for a crucial operation for Ellie, to be able to walk, at their home in Carrigaline, Co. Cork.Picture: Jim Coughlan.

THE race is on for a Carrigaline family, hoping to raise €100,000 in ten weeks to fund a crucial operation to help their three-year-old daughter to walk.

Amy Glennon and John Boyhan are fundraising for their daughter Ellie, who has Cerebral Palsy and cannot walk or stand independently as well as being in constant discomfort and pain.

Speaking to The Echo, Ellie’s mom Amy said the pain that Ellie is experiencing will intensify as she gets older if she doesn’t have this procedure.

The family, who also has a one-year-old named Eve, were accepted for SDR surgery (Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy) with world-renowned surgeon Dr T. S. Park at St Louis Children's Hospital in Missouri, United States.

The life-changing surgery, along with three years of intensive post-operative therapy, could help Ellie to walk unassisted and live life pain-free.

Amy said Ellie, who is supposed to start pre-school in September, is a fun-loving, gregarious character who loves dancing and has a vast selection of tutus that she chooses from to wear every day.

Ellie Boyhan.Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Ellie Boyhan.Picture: Jim Coughlan.

“She is a real girly girl,” Amy said. “She is so funny and she remembers everything.” Last October, Ellie has botox in her legs which is supposed to help straighten her legs and help her to walk, but it is a temporary and painful process that would have to be repeated every year and up to three times a year as she gets older if she doesn’t have the SDR surgery.

Amy, who is a pre-school teacher for over ten years, said the SDR surgery is the best option for Ellie.

“Our neurologist encouraged us to go for this surgery, she said Ellie is an ideal candidate, because of the type of brain injury Ellie has and because of her age.” Ellie was originally scheduled for the operation next June, but due to a cancellation the little girl was offered a place in September and her mother said as age is a key factor in terms of limiting Ellie’s pain and enhancing her chance of responding positively to the surgery, every day counts and having the surgery earlier is very important.

“There are so many different factors to consider including Covid-19 and travelling to the US, it is a massive undertaking, but it is the best thing for Ellie.” Amy, who sold her forever home with John after Ellie’s diagnosis as the house was not set up for easy accessibility, said the diagnosis of her little girl had a catastrophic effect on their life but said that she couldn’t live without her best buddy Ellie.

Ellie and Eve at their home in Carrigaline, Co. Cork.Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Ellie and Eve at their home in Carrigaline, Co. Cork.Picture: Jim Coughlan.

The mother of two said she and her husband John are a private family, but fundraising for Ellie is so important that they had to go for it.

“Since Ellie’s diagnosis last year I kind of put us in a bubble and shielded her and myself from the world, but since we started the fundraiser on Sunday, we have received phenomenal support.” Amy said the local community has really rallied around her and her family and they have tapped into a whole world of support for Ellie they never knew they had, raising over €30,000 in just two days.

“The aim to make sure Ellie has no life long pain and to reduce the need for orthopaedic surgery for her daughter in the future.

“It is very overwhelming, thinking about the surgery and the intensive therapy, but we are just taking it one step at a time.” To donate to Ellie’s operation search ‘Ellie’s Dream to Dance’ on Gofundme or use this url:  http://www.gofundme.com/f/ellies-dream-to-dance-2020

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