A 10-year-old Co Clare girl has to go to Spain for life-saving surgery but only if the funds to send her can been raised in the next few months.
Zara Cronin from Dysert is not eligible for the HSE operated Treatment Abroad Scheme or the Cross-Border Health Initiative.
This is because the requirement for both is that Zara be referred by an appropriate Irish consultant, however, there is no surgeon in the public or private hospital system in Ireland who can undertake this type of surgery. There isn’t even a facility to provide a sit-up or stand-up MRI service in Ireland, so Zara has been left with no option but to travel to Spain.
Zara suffers from the rare Ehler-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) that affects the connective tissues mainly the skin and joints, although it can also affect the blood vessel walls. Currently her C1 & C2 vertebrae dislocate continually even with minor movement.
Earlier this year, Zara was diagnosed with EDS after she dislocated her C1 & C2 vertebrae in a simple accident last December. Following the injury, she was admitted to University College Hospital in Galway (UCHG), where she was fitted with a halo-brace that required the insertion of four screws in her skull, to keep her head from flopping on to her shoulders. Zara is now wheel-chair bound and her neck is in a hard-collar.
Her mother, Ann O’Gorman said: ‘In Zara’s case where there is an imbalance of the protein mix, the skin/joints cannot support her neck, head and side movements. In addition to this diagnosis, Zara also has a Hind-Brain Hernia, which means in effect that her brain is slipping 8mm out of her skull. If it goes to 9mm, it will cause brain stem compression and add further serious complications.”
To receive the cranio-cervical fusion that Zara requires, both she and her mum will travel to Barcelona in September. This is the only centre in Europe that can carry out this type of surgery.
The cost is €100,000 for surgery and post-op care. Zara will remain in a medical apartment for up to 4 months depending on her level of progress. The timeline is tight for Zara.
She is scheduled for admission at the Barcelona Hospital on the 10th September with surgery to take place three days later. With a deposit paid, the outstanding money required for the surgery is due on the 24th August.
Meanwhile, the Clare senior hurling team has agreed to step out and help by undertaking a fund-raising Walk (6km) on Saturday 21st July 2018 assembling at 10am in the village of Ruan, outside Ennis, Co. Clare. They appeal to as many people as possible to support Zara on the day.
The fund currently stands at €30,000. Donations can be sent to the following account.
Permanent TSB, O’Connell St., Ennis, Co. Clare
IBAN IE671 PBS 99072827283203
See also www.fundraiserforzara.com