After a relatively worry free pregnancy for Laura and her husband Pauric things quickly went very wrong when at 31 weeks pregnant Laura was rushed in for an emergency C-section after a routine blood pressure check-up showed a serious problem with the placenta.
Cara was born weighing 2lbs 8ozs and taken straight to the NICU unit. At first she seemed to be making good progress but then came the devastating news that she had suffered a severe brain bleed.
Laura describes how hearing that news changed her and Pauric’s lives forever:
“From that moment we have had to become different people and entered a whole new world we didn’t know existed.”
The couple were full of questions and uncertainty about what the future would be like for their daughter. Would she ever walk? Or talk? Or enjoy a life that ‘normal’ children have. Uncertainty lay ahead and it was a case of wait and see what happens.
Cara made finally made it home and although Laura and Pauric were delighted it was hard to relate to other new parents seemingly carefree lives as they attended endless hospital check-ups, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and an on-going catalogue of treatments.
At around 17 months the family suffered another blow, Cara was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Laura was distressed by what she found out about the condition and it was a very difficult time for the family. Cara would probably never walk and spend her life confined to a wheelchair needing constant care, as she got older the family would need to adapt their house to accommodate Cara’s needs and the wheelchair. The emotional and financial burden’s kept mounting up and Cara’s future looked bleak.
Eventually, there was some hopeful news, while researching cerebral palsy Pauric had come across a surgery called Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR). SDR surgery can result in children with cerebral palsy walking, something Laura and Pauric had dreamed of for Cara. The operation was available at St Louis Children’s hospital, Missouri, it was expensive but as it isn’t available in Ireland the couple had no other options. They applied to see if Cara would be suitable and after an anxious couple of weeks waiting they heard back with the news that Cara would be an excellent candidate for the surgery and there was a good chance she would be able to walk independently afterwards.
“It was a dream come true and far more than we had hoped for and the first real hope we had been given so far about her condition and the progress she could potentially make. There was no way we couldn’t go ahead with the surgery”
So in 2012 the couple started the long process of fundraising to make the dream a reality. They set up ‘Cara’s Wish to Walk’ to fund the surgery and the essential physiotherapy that is required afterwards. They were taken aback by the level of support they received from friends, family and even strangers.
Pauric worked in insurance and his Manager told him about a charity called The Insurance Charities who help insurance employees and their dependants in times of needs. The couple applied and were overjoyed when we replied saying we would fund Cara’s surgery costs in full. Laura recalls the moment she received the letter with this news:
“I remember shaking reading the letter and tears filling my eyes as I rang to tell Pauric the news. It was such a weigh off our minds…”
It meant they now had enough money to proceed with the operation, money raised through the fundraising would be used for the subsequent therapy and equipment required during rehabilitation. So, on April 2nd 2013 Cara had her surgery. It is a very complex operation involving removing a section of the spine and the family felt a mixture of anxiety and excitement about the surgery and what the future held.
And success; three years on Cara is a happy and confident little girl who attends a mainstream school and can walk independently at home and is working hard to walk independently in all environments.
Cara has undertaken hours of therapy, and been back to St Louis for a follow up operation on her left hamstring and heelcords. Laura says:
“We are eternally grateful to The Insurance Charities who have played a massive part in Cara’s story by funding both surgeries and then also paid for an extension to our home so we would have space for all of Cara’s therapy equipment and space for her to do her physio. You are an amazing charity and we just can’t thank you enough. Cara’s future is so bright!”
The Insurance Charities is here to help insurance, and insurance related employees and dependants in their times of need. If you need help or support get in touch.