Mia Smiszek, who lives in Cloyne with her parents, Marcin and Maria, was born six and a half months ago with Spina Bifida.
The tot, who has a sister, Samantha, 7 and a brother, Oliver, 10, has had three operations in Temple Street and she is awaiting two more.
“Our ultimate aim is to go to Poland for stem cell treatment that will give Mia the chance to walk,” says Maria.
“The treatment will cost in the region of €10,000.”
A coffee morning to raise funds for Mia is being held on Saturday, May 25 from 10am to 12pm in Surf and Turf, Distillery Walk, Midleton, where Marcin worked as a chef.
“I remember Marcin coming into work and being sad and upset,” says Patrick Sucsuchojad, who is the owner of Surf and Turf restaurant.
“Marcin told me all about Mia’s condition.
“I said to him, don’t worry, people will rally around and try to help you out. That’s what people do,” says Patrick.
“My wife, Kasia, and I decided to help out as much as we could. We had an idea and we are organising a coffee morning on Saturday for Mia,” says Patrick.
The Sucsuchojads are putting on a good spread.
“Kasia is a great baker, so she’s making scones, sponges, brownies, and carrot cake. We’d like everyone to come along for coffee and cake on Saturday morning to support the family.” Spina Bifida is a birth defect where the spine and the spinal cord don’t form properly.
“When Mia was just three days old, she had her first operation in Temple Street Hospital, Dublin,” says Maria.
“She was only six days old when she had the cast put on on her legs to help straighten them. Every week the cast had to be changed. Mia has no feeling in her feet, so, fortunately, putting on the cast or removing it wasn’t painful for her. When she grows up a bit more, she will have an operation on her hips which are dislocated.” Mia has been through the mill during her short life.
“At two weeks old, Mia had a VP shunt put in her head. The long trips up and down to the hospital in Dublin were traumatic for us and for our baby.” A VP shunt is a piece of tubing that goes from the child’s brain and into the peritoneal region around the tummy, relieving pressure on the brain caused by fluid accumulation.
“Our friends and neighbours have been great, looking after Samantha and Oliver while Marcin and I have to travel to Temple Street, often staying over-night.” Hopefully, Mia will be travelling further afield to Lublin, Poland, to get stem cell treatment that will give her the chance to walk.
“The treatment helps the muscles, the bladder, the kidneys and the bones,” says Mia.
“The earlier Mia can receive this treatment; the better.” Mia can go and visit her Granny and Granddad too while she’s in Poland.
“They live in Gdansk,” says Maria, who is living in Ireland 10 years.
“They love the grand-children.” Mia is a favourite.
“Samantha and Oliver lover her so much,” says Maria.
“They really do! And I know everyone will come out and support the fund-raiser in Surf and Turf, Midleton on Saturday. That’s what people do."