AN EIGHT-year-old boy from Foynes who has never been able to sit, stand or walk unaided is to undergo potentially life-changing surgery in America in November.
Over the past year there has been an outpouring of support for young Glen Wilkie, who was born twelve weeks premature and suffers from cerebral palsy, as his family sought to raise money for him to receive ground-breaking medical treatment that could allow him to walk.
Now, after raising a staggering €30,000, Glen’s mother Margaret Lenihan has confirmed that her son has been booked in for surgery at St Louis Children’s Hospital in Missouri in four months’ time.
However, the family still need to raise another €30,000 to pay for the full cost of Glen’s travel, surgeries and after care.
“This could be a lifechanging thing for him. Eleven Irish kids have gone over for this surgery – two went over from Dublin last week. One girl who had it was walking about a year afterwards”, Margaret said.
“We still need to raise more money though. We’ve set up a PayPal on our website, we’ve registered with mycharity.ie. We’ve had so much support so far. We’ve been blown away”.
Glen weighed just 990g – less than 2lbs – when he was born, and spent three months in the neonatal ward that the Mid Western Regional Maternity Hospital before his mother and her husband David were allowed to take him home.
Since then, Glen has not been able to sit, stand or walk unaided, and gets about using a special K-Walker wheel chair. After researching possible treatments for him, Margaret and David learned about the revolutionary SDR surgery available in St Louis, and became determined that they would give their son the chance to fulfil his dream of playing sports.
Last October, after raising €5,000 locally, Glen’s family embarked on a massive fundraising campaign titled ‘Let’s Help Glen Walk’, which was driven through a dedicated website www.glenwilkie.org.
With Glen’s operation now only a matter of weeks away, the campaign is to receive a further jolt.
Last month, Athea cyclist Dinny Mulvihill cycled from Malin head to Mizen head and back, while Dublin singer Keith Cullen has written a special song for Glen, which is available for download on iTunes.
All proceeds from the track will go toward’s Glen’s fundraising campaign.
The family are also still receiving donations to a special AIB bank account set up for the campaign, which is account number 02121107, sort code 93-55-30.