Sophia appeals for life-changing operation

A young girl who is looking to raise funds for a life-changing operation displayed her courage and determination when she took part in the annual Fizter’s 5K on Saturday.
There were cheers at the finish line as three-year old Sophia Griffin crossed the finish line in her walker alongside her father, Gerry. Sophia’s dad had pushed Sophia around the course in her pram but the determined youngster managed to complete the last few metres in her walker alongside Gerry.
Sophia is three-and-a-half and lives in Dundalk with her mother, Catriona, father, Gerry and brother and sister. Sophia was diagnosed with Spastic Diplegic Cerebral Palsy and PVL (Periventricular Leukomalcia) of the brain just after her second birthday in 2017. She has poor trunk control, and poor balance with abnormal gait and spasticity in both her legs.
Sophia has many struggles with her balance and with walking. She has very low endurance and therefore tires a lot which makes her determination to walk the last few metres of the 5K all the more impressive. According to Catriona, her daughter struggles with everyday things that most people take for granted.
“She struggles with daily things like climbing stairs, getting dressed and walking. Sophia has to do physio every day, along with wearing AFO braces on both legs, a special Lymed garment for seven hours everyday to help with posture just to name a few.
“She falls three to four times a day with some falls being quite hard. In addition, she has a poor gait and poor endurance which is only going to get worse as she ages. And, not forgetting with spasticity can come painful spasms and deformities. Despite all of this she never stops smiling and is such a determined wee girl. We are so proud of her,” noted Catriona.
“We have followed Zoe Murphy’s progress and are delighted that she has reached her fundraising target. We know Zoe and her parents Lynda and Eamonn and we actually travelled to Dublin with them last year to meet with Dr. T.S Park from St Louis Missouri who carries out SDR surgery which is a revolutionary surgery in St Louis’s Children’s Hospital.
“We were unsure if we would proceed with the operation or not as we were being told by a lot of Irish doctors that the surgery was extremely dangerous and could potentially cause full paralysis. We decided to hold off a while and do some more research and having done that we have decided to go ahead with it. We began our fundraising efforts in January and after a slow start we are really gaining momentum know and we are going to do all in our power to try and raise the €100,000 needed for this life changing operation.
“We have now finally been given the green light for the surgery. Dr. Park predicts that Sophia will walk better, with straight legs, have better balance and posture, and be able to play all recreational sports of which she can’t currently do. We have had so much support already with people doing marathons, three peak challenges and all sorts of fundraisers and we are so grateful for everybody’s help. There is a long road ahead of us but we are determined to reach our target by May 2020 which is when she is booked in for the operation,” stated Catriona.
You can follow Sophia’s progress by checking the Happy Feet for Sophia facebook page. Anybody who would like to donate money for Sophia’s life changing operation can find her page on the Just Giving website by searching ‘Happy Feet for Sophia.

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