It has been a long journey for Rachel Quinn, but this week saw the charming little girl from Athlone fly to the United States to undergo a life-changing operation and fulfill her ‘Wish to Walk’.
Rachel was born prematurely at 29 weeks in Russia, and was adopted by local teacher at Our Lady’s Bower, Shelly Quinn. Not long after her adoption, Rachel was diagnosed with Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy, which has resulted in her experiencing great difficulty in walking independently.
Rachel uses a walking aid and at times a wheelchair to get around, but like every other young girl she loves being active, exploring the outdoors, and enjoying the simple things in life. She loves to play with other children, but finds it difficult to keep up with them due to her condition, leaving her greatly frustrated.
A little more than three years ago, Rachel’s mother Shelly came across an operation which would drastically improve her daughter’s quality of life. Available in the US, the operation is known as a Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy, which is used to improve spasticity or muscle stiffness in cerebral palsy patients. It will strengthen Rachel’s ability to walk independently, and, more importantly, it will ensure that her physical condition does not deteriorate any further.
However, this life-altering operation does not come cheap. Costing in the region of €60,000, the planned operation has meant a long road of fundraising for Rachel and Michelle. Throughout that time, Rachel has been visiting Limerick once a week to receive physio treatment. But all of her efforts have finally been rewarded. Yesterday (Wednesday ), Rachel and her mother finally made the trip to St Louis, Missouri, to allow Rachel to undergo her life-changing operation.
Mother Shelly has expressed her unreserved gratitude to all those who contributed to making Rachel’s Wish to Walk a reality.
“We would sincerely like to thank everyone that so generously supported us in so many ways,” she said. “I can safely say that this operation would not have been possible without all the fabulous people who helped us achieve our fundraising goal. They have ensured that Rachel will enjoy a greater standard of living.
“We have been deeply touched by all the people, businesses, companies, clubs, and schools who have contributed to Rachel’s Wish to Walk, and we truly are eternally grateful. I just want to thank them all from the bottom of my heart.”