The Mark’s Wish to Walk campaign group will host an auction in Ahascragh this weekend to raise funds for local boy, Mark Dolan, who requires continuing treatment to allow him to walk unaided.
When Mark was six months old, his parents Kevin and Fidelma were informed he had a motor delay and would be bound to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. The couple were determined to find a solution that would allow their son to live a full and active life. They began an intensive fundraising campaign so Mark could undergo revoluntary treatment in the US, which would enable him to take his first unaided steps.
The three year old has now just returned from St Louis, Missouri, where he spent five weeks after undergoing SDR surgery. This operation has resulted in him taking some independent steps. Selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR ) is a procedure performed on the lower spinal cord where the nerves are separated then identified via an electrical stimulation. Following identification, certain sensory nerve fibers in the spinal cord are cut.
Following this operation, the toddler is now facing two years of intensive physiotherapy at a clinic in Limerick, and that may have to be be followed by another round of surgery to enable him to walk.
Fidelma Dolan outlines the costs associated with this ongoing treatment. “The operation in the US cost in excess of €50,000, but that does not include the price of flights over, accommodation and the time off work both myself and Kevin had to take. There is also a major cost associated with the physio which takes place three times a week in Limerick. That alone is a two hour journey each way.”
She says the family are blown away by the support they have received from the local community and indeed from people further afield. “We have been contacted by so many people. The support has been overwhelming and we are so grateful to everybody for helping us, and helping Mark in his quest to walk.”
The mother of three has a positive update on her little boy. “Mark is doing brilliantly and his determination to walk is what keeps us going. We just want him to avoid all the physical ailments that come with spending your life in a wheelchair. We want to give him the best chance possible of living an active life like other children his own age.”
This Sunday’s auction takes place in Ahascragh Parish Hall and begins at 2 o’clock sharp. There will be children’s entertainment and refreshments available in the hall. The main attraction is a specially commissioned hat, designed by local man and world famous milliner, Philip Treacy. Described as a hot pink structured wave hat in velour with buntal ribbons, Mr Treacy designed the hat especially for this fundraising campaign.
There are plenty of items up for grabs for sports enthusiasts, including jodphurs signed by multiple National Hunt champion jockey AP McCoy, a jersey signed by the Galway hurling team, a rugby ball signed by Robbie Henshaw, a football signed by the Manchester City team, and two tickets to a Manchester United game.
There are 125 items in total to go under the hammer and fashionistas can look forward to bidding on items of clothing made by well-known Galway born designer Niall Tyrrell. There are also things like weekends away, cases of wine, bikes, loads of turf, blocks, hay, straw, and silage to be auctioned.
+Donations to the Mark’s Wish to Walk campaign can be made to AIB bank account number 48349059, sort code 93 22 64.