‘Mark’s Wish to Walk’ campaign launched

A young Galway couple are calling on people to help them raise funds for their three-year-old son Mark to send him to the US to have an operation.

  Mark is the three-year-old son of Fidelma and Kevin Dolan who hail from Ahascragh, Co. Galway. Mark is the twin brother of sister Maeve who were born five weeks prematurely on the 9th August 2012.

  In the early months Mark seemed like any other typically developing infant and was as engaged as his twin sister, and even at his nine-month developmental assessment Mark passed in all areas.

  However, at the turning of his first birthday it became apparent to his parents that Mark was not reaching typical developmental milestones, like sitting independently, rolling over or crawling, basic things they would have expected at this stage and what his twin sister  was doing freely.

   At this point Fidelma and Kevin became concerned about Marks progress and sought professional advise both locally and at Temple Street hospital where further more intensive investigations were carried out. After further tests it was evident that Mark suffered from a Motor Delay primarily affecting his lower extremities. At this point to their horror the shocked parents were advised that Mark would probably be wheelchair bound for the rest of his life.

  This news as you could imagine caused both parents and close family extreme distress but Fidelma and Kevin refused to accept this as a final outcome and vowed to dedicate all the efforts to provide Mark with a better quality of life.

  Fidelama, through her contacts and experience of working on an Early Intervention Team scoured the internet and medical books and after some in-depth analysis sought some private advise from a specialist on this subject.

  This led to Fidelma and Kevin attending a clinic First Step’s Private Clinic, Patrickswell,  Limerick privately run by a Dr Senthilkumar Periyasamy who specialises in Repetitive Strength Training with a sustained Therapeutic Exercise Programme.

  From day one Fidelma and Kevin have concentrated and dedicated every moment of their life to following through with this treatment which has meant many sacrifices both financially and emotionally since then. All this whilst juggling their full time jobs and while trying to provide a normal family life for their other two children Anna-Mai (8) and Marks twin Maeve (3).

  After making significant progress in the early months Dr Senthilkumar advised Fidelma of a surgical procedure which would eradicate the tightness in Marks lower limbs on a permanent basis. Dr Senthilkumar alerted Fidelma to a Neurosurgeon in a clinic in St Loius, Missouri in the USA by the name of DR TS Park who has carried out more than 3,000 of these Pioneering surgeries on children.

  On the 11th of May to their delight, Fidelma and Kevin received and email from America outlining that Marks application was successful and that surgery would follow at the first available. However certain hurdles came into play.

  Both parents will have to travel to St Louis and spend up to five weeks providing round the clock care for Mark during However having come to terms with that, the main issue would be that they would now somehow have to raise the enormous amount of €120,000 at very short notice to pay for the surgery which would have to be paid for up-front.

  Having drained most of their resources with the private clinic in Limerick the reality was this undertaking might be beyond them. Using all their equity including their home and approaching all the financial institutions the couple could only raise up to €60,000 in loans which was just half the amount needed. Added to this with the estimated travelling and accommodation expenses which would add a further €15,000 to the overall costs. The family fell short by approximately €75,000.

  After consulting with family and close friends, and accepting that they would move mountains to give their son the best quality of life they can, Fidelma and Kevin have decided to fundraise in order to fullfill Marks dream.

  The theme of the fundraiser is titled “MARKS WISH TO WALK”. A special Facebook page has been set up where donations can be made and we would ask people to kindly donate and indeed to share Marks page so it can be spread far and wide.

Donations can also be made to a special bank account called AIB Athlone ‘Marks Wish to Walk’ set up under the fundraiser name at any AIB Branch sort code 932264, Account Number 48349059.

  Any local people, clubs, organisations within the community and beyond who wish to donate or organise a fundraising night for this worthy cause please contact the fundraiser PRO at email seamusconcannon61@gmail.com or phone 087-2121936.

  If you need any further information for this article please contact Fidelma Dolan (Mother) on 087-6322207 or Kevin Dolan (Father) on 087-6268883.