THE family of a little girl with a dream to dance has secured a date for an operation in America that may help fulfil her wish.
A total of €100,000 has been raised by the public to send Anna Browne for treatment in St Louis Children's Hospital in Missouri on August 14.
The seven-year-old from Mallow was diagnosed with a significant brain injury, known as bilateral PVL of the brain which resulted in spastic diplegia cerebral palsy, a condition inhibiting movement of the lower limbs.
The Mallow girl will undergo elective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR), a procedure carried out at the St Louis Children’s Hospital in Missouri. This involves the detection and severing of sensory nerves causing spasticity in the lower limbs.
Seeing Anna dance is not the only dream Evelyn has for her daughter.
"Anna's condition means she is unable to carry her own school bag. Every day she walks to the school gates with an empty bag. Her sister secretly carries her books so she doesn't have to feel different. Emma has always been wonderful with Anna and has a way with her that nobody else has. Anna will often have trouble with school work and she helps her in a way that's fun. Even when Emma's doing homework with Anna she'll line all her dolls up for homework too so she can feel like it's a game."
Anna is currently only able to walk short distances but it is hoped that surgery will change this.
"I will be forever grateful to everyone who donated for Anna. Their kindness means she will no longer have to live her life on the sidelines. She will be a participant rather than an observer. No longer will I have to make up excuses for why she can't attend Irish dancing classes. She will be able to live a life like that of any other child. The community has changed, not just Anna's life but the whole family's. Anna's siblings have been in the shadows since we started fundraising for Anna. At least now we'll be able to focus our attention on the others as well. "
She praised Anna's determination adding:
"Recently she wanted to take part in a sports day at school. The teachers came up with the idea to apply deep heat spray between a race so she wouldn't have to feel in pain. When her brother explained that she wouldn't be able to win she just told him "there's nothing wrong with your legs and you've never won."
"We couldn't stop laughing. Life has always been about participating for Anna. She's never cared about winning."
The 100,000 raised will cover the cost of the operation, therapy requirements, follow-up treatments and travel to and from the US.