15 years ago, Emil made his entrance in to the world 10 weeks early and was born with Cerebral Palsy, a disorder which effects muscle tone, movement and motor skills. Emil is academically very bright, having obtained A’s and B’s in his Junior Certificate exams. He is linguistically gifted and has 6 languages, including Chinese Mandarin! Emil’s interests include films and visiting other places, countries and cultures. Emil has been riding every weekend at Slieve Aughty Centre for the last 2 years to keep his pelvic joint supple. He must be helped on to his horse and requires 2 people walking along side him.
Emil received an official diagnosis when he was 18 months old and although he has defied doctors’ predictions that he would be wheelchair bound, he is dependent on a walker and needs a lot of help at home and at school. Emil has required physiotherapy throughout his lifetime and often has to travel for miles for appointments. Emil has had costly private physio, as well as physio provided by the NHS and HSE.
Recently, a procedure called Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy has been introduced to Europe. It is a procedure that “treats muscle spasticity caused by abnormal communication among the brain, spinal cord, nerves and muscles” and was developed by Dr. Park, a surgeon with more than 27 years of experience and over 3000 successful operations in America. Emil was assessed in April 2016 in Dublin and specialists feel that the procedure could be a success and result in Emil being able to walk using sticks and even walk up and down stairs! Emil must travel to America to have this operation and at the same time will have a tendon lengthening operation on his legs to counteract drop syndrome, which forces Emil to walk on his toes.
After the procedures, which will be performed by Dr. Park, Emil will be in recovery for three weeks and upon his return will require post-operative physiotherapy in Limerick.
As with everything, this all comes with a price. A big one. The main operation will cost €35,000 and the tendon lengthening is €16,000. This doesn’t include the cost of flights, accommodation, post-operative care or other expenses. The procedures could potentially be life changing for this young man and we desperately want to help him and his family raise funds to make this possible. We, at Slieve Aughty, host a charity ride every Halloween. This year we will fundraise for Emil. Please join us in supporting this worthy cause and help Emil find his independence.
Here is how you can help:
Ride for Emil on Sunday October 30th at 1pm. The annual charity ride offers a gentle trek through the forest, thrilling cross country ride, or children’s lead rein for beginners and novice young riders. Afterwards, there will be a raffle and delicious homemade soup to warm you.
Don’t ride? No problem, you can still make a cash donation. Call us on 090 9745 246 or email us for more information.