A four-year-old girl from Drogheda needs to travel abroad for life-changing surgery to help her walk.
Odette ‘Odie’ O’Brien has spastic diplegic cerebral palsy, which has left her unable to walk on her own, dress herself, or play whenever she wants to.
The condition has affected her body movement, muscle control, posture, and balance, meaning that she is unable to carry out day-to-day activities without the help of a walker or her parents, David and Joan.
It’s possible that Odie’s condition will worsen over time, however a surgery available in the States has given the O’Brien’s hope that their daughter will be able to live an independent life – and potentially walk on her own one day.
Writing on Odie’s GoFundMe page, they detailed the need for their daughter’s surgery and the incredibly difference it will make to her life.
“Odie is unable to walk without the assistance of her walker and cannot stand unsupported. At home she crawls on the floor or is carried.
” The spasticity, or tightness, in her legs can be very painful, and we do daily physiotherapy and stretching to try and reduce this.”
Odie suffered from an undiagnosed heart condition at birth which led to an injury to the white matter of the brain.
Over time, the pain caused by Odie’s cerebral palsy may increase, as will the likelihood of her needing to use a wheelchair in the future.
The selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) surgery necessary to give Odie a chance at walking is currently not available in Ireland, so David and Joan have plans to travel with their daughter to St. Louis Children’s Hospital in Missouri next year.
The couple are hoping to raise €100,000 to cover the costs of the operation, therapy requirements, follow up treatments and travel to and from the US.
“We feel that SDR will give Odie the best chance to walk, run, dance and play,” they said, “and give her the independence she would love to have.”