Two brothers need life changing treatment in America

By Esther Hayden

Published 07/07/2015 | 00:00

Ned (left) and Michael Hickey.
Ned (left) and Michael Hickey.
Michael Hickey and Ned Hickey

A Wexford woman whose two grandchildren need life changing treatment in America is part of a massive fundraising drive to fund the treatment.

Noeleen Ennis Hickey from Rosslare is helping to raise the €120,000 needed to send her two grandchildren, Michael and Ned Hickey, who both suffer from Cerebral Palsy, for treatment which will give them a chance at an independent future.

Known as the Sundance kids Michael who turns three next month and Ned who turns two next month were both born three months premature to Noeleen's son Mark and his wife Sinead.

Noeleen said Michael has Spastic Quadriplegia and is learning to walk at the moment. He's been offered a place at a hospital in St Louis, Missouri, where he can undergo a spinal procedure that will allow him to walk unaided and reduce the pain in his legs.

The treatment offered to the Hickey family for Michael is Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy, which involves cutting nerve fibers in the spinal cord so the muscles identified as causing spasticity are left inactive.

Combined with prolonged intense physical therapy afterwards, the treatment can often allow some cerebral palsy suffers to walk unaided.

The operation is not performed in Ireland, and the HSE will only recommend treatment in the UK for those aged eight and over,

The money raised by the Sundance foundation will go towards the surgery, therapy and equipment needed afterwards. The procedure has already helped to improve the lives of hundreds of children and give them the prospect of a more independent future.

His younger brother Ned has Periventricular Leukomalacia (PVL) and the full impact of Ned's condition is still undetermined as formal diagnosis is not given until he turns two years old next month, but both boys are attending rigorous physiotherapy, aqua therapy and cognitive therapy with the aim of relieving their symptoms and reaching their full potential.

Noeleen who is holding a fundraising coffee morning in the Ferrycarrig Hotel on Friday, July 10, at 11am, said the family hope that when they get to America in January for Michael's surgery that Ned can also bee assessed to see if he is suitable for surgery.

Already a whopping €40,000 has been raised to help send the boys for treatment and Noeleen said that people have been very generous. 'People have been so kind. It's been amazing. We only launched the website last month.' She said the boys are fun loving little boys who touch the hearts of everyone they meet.

To donate log onto or find on Facebook at The Sundance Kids.

Wexford People

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