Ella (Doyle) is our 3 year old little girl. We are her parents Nicola Dervan from Killimor, Co. Galway and Simon Doyle from Arklow, Co. Wicklow. We live in Rathfarnham in Dublin. Ella is happy, bright, mischievous and full of life. She loves dancing, singing, and story time. Ella loves to get involved but sadly she is unable to fully participate in some activities due to the limitations in her mobility.
Ella was born on the 10th December 2012 in the Coombe Hospital in Dublin; she came home two days later and was the best Christmas present we could have hoped for. As the months passed we noticed Ella was not moving around on the floor as you would expect a baby to move. After a number of appointments in the Coombe Hospital Ella was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy.
Ella’s cerebral palsy causes tightness in her legs (spasticity) which negatively affects her balance, coordination and muscle strength making simple tasks in life such as crawling, cruising and even sitting harder for Ella. The spasticity in Ella’s legs makes it impossible for Ella to stand or walk independently.
Ella has been attending therapy in Enable Ireland ever since her diagnosis and amazes us every day with her determination, courage, patience and her ability to always have a smile on her face. Ella wears orthotics on her legs, walks with a ‘Kaye’ walking frame and participates wholeheartedly in daily physiotherapy which is gruelling and tiring. However, spasticity over time causes shortening of muscles and tendons, joint contractures and bone deformities. Therefore a future of Botox injections, leg casting and orthopaedic surgical procedures is ahead of Ella. Ultimately however, despite these interventions deterioration will occur and Ella will require a wheelchair in the future.
Ella has now been presented with an amazing opportunity of undergoing a life changing operation called Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) in the USA. SDR is a complex spinal surgical procedure that involves cutting some of the damaged sensory nerve fibres that are causing the spasticity. It is the only procedure that will permanently reduce or eliminate spasticity in the legs but unfortunately it is not available in Ireland.
This life-changing procedure will be carried out in the world renowned St. Louis children’s hospital in Missouri, USA. Dr. Park is an amazing neurosurgeon that specializes in pediatric neurosurgery and treating children with cerebral palsy using SDR. Dr. Park is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list and has performed over 3,000 SDR procedures on children with cerebral palsy from all over the world. We feel so fortunate that Dr. Park has accepted Ella for this procedure as it will hopefully help Ella achieve her dream of walking and playing independently with her friends. The results of this surgery together with 2 years post-operative intensive physiotherapy in children like Ella are breath-taking; children who previously had been told they would never walk are walking, running and jumping. It would be a dream come true for Ella to be able to walk independently.
To achieve Ella’s Wish to Walk we are relying on the goodness of people to donate and help Ella’s dream become a reality. Ella’s website and Facebook page will regularly be updated with fundraising events, use of funds and Ella’s progress. Please follow the link below to donate and thank you so much for helping Ella.
If you would like to help with fundraising or have any queries please feel free to contact on firstname.lastname@example.org or Katrina at 087 450 8505 .
Thank you for reading Ella’s story so far.
To achieve Ella's Wish to Walk we have a fundraising target of a minimum of €150,000. The money fundraised will go towards the SDR surgery, post-operative intensive physiotherapy program and the equipment Ella requires to facilitate this program. For regular updates on use of funds please visit www.ellaswishtowalk.ie