Courageous tot May Rose given glimmer of hope by top docs

May Rose
May Rose

COURAGEOUS tot May Rose Gibney has been given a glimmer of hope by top consultants at an Oxford hospital.

The plight of the plucky baby caught the attention of neurosurgeons at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, who believe they can help the girl that doctors here predicted would never survive.

May Rose was born nine weeks ago with her brain outside her skull, a rare condition called encephalocele that prevents the cranium from closing during development within the womb.

Last month the Sunday World revealed how mum Analee Gibney was told at her 20-week scan that her little girl would never survive birth, and since that devastating blow the Co. Armagh woman spent her pregnancy preparing never to get to know the child she could feel kicking inside her.

Yet May Rose had other plans and the miracle child is going from strength to strength, defying all medical predictions.

Every day she is gaining weight, taking a bottle, opening her eyes and smiling when her doting mum calls out her name.

“I was right not to give up on her, she is doing really well,” Analee told the Sunday World.

“Even the fact that she’s taking a bottle is really something, the weight is piling on, she’s eight pounds five now. I knew I was right not to give up on her, I knew she was a wee fighter. She is my world.

“She is good, thank God. She had a few seizures and we took her to hospital, but thankfully they were fever seizures. I was terrified it was epilepsy because that’s what I have, but that was ruled out. 

“I was so relieved when they told me it was a wee fever or viral infection. It was music to my ears because I was just panicking.

“I’m exhausted, I am one tired mummy, but I’m the happiest mummy in the world. 

“May Rose is opening her eyes more and more now, when you call her name she will open them. When she does that, oh my God, it’s just amazing, words can’t describe it,” she explained.

Last week Analee received a phone call that she was afraid to even dream about.


A senior consultant from the John Radcliffe Hospital contacted her in the belief that he might be able to help her sick daughter, performing an operation that would see her brain returned inside her skull.

May Rose’s case was also discussed at a meeting between neurosurgeons from across the U.K. on Friday. Analee is waiting for the phone to ring to give her the news she is praying for.

“I couldn’t believe it when he told me who he was and that he thought he could help May Rose, I was overwhelmed,” she said.

“I went upstairs to the bathroom and cried my eyes out after I spoke to the hospital.

“The senior neurosurgeon was waiting for May Rose’s medical notes to be referred to him and he was taking them to meet other surgeons from all across the U.K. who will look at her notes too. Fingers crossed, we should know very soon if they can help,” she added.

The procedure Analee thought she would have to travel to the U.S. for would entail an operation that would open the back of the skull, the brain being placed inside and new skull grown from skin grafting.

“I can’t believe there is a possibility that she can get this treatment in Oxford, it would be so less stressful because I will have family around me there to support us. 

“It would be so much easier and I am really positive that something good will come out of this, I have to be. Hopefully I will find out in a few days and get a consultation within weeks,” she said.

In the meantime, Analee is doing her best to take it one day at a time.

“I’m just trying to take one day at a time and enjoy every tiny milestone; the little smiles, May Rose meeting her daddy’s family in England and them doting on her. 

“I really don’t know what tomorrow will bring for May Rose and me. I’m still waiting by the phone and every time it rings my heart races,” she added.