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Cork mum fights to raise €300k to get daughter (16) to Florida for life-changing surgery

Katie Byrne has cerebral palsy and a badly dislocated hip, twisted femur and fractured pelvis

Maeve McTaggartSunday World

A Cork mum fighting to get her teen daughter to Florida for life-changing surgery says she is “determined” to do whatever it takes.

Katie Byrne (16) has cerebral palsy and a badly dislocated hip, twisted femur and fractured pelvis that she must battle with to keep walking.

It is a fight that has led her and her mum Antoinette to Poland – and now to a doctor in Florida.

The total cost of the trip to the States for treatment will come to €300,000 and Antoinette is “taking matters into her own hands” to get Katie the help she needs.

"She’s 16 years old and things are getting worse all the time,” her mum told of her daughter’s pain.

"She shouldn't have to live like this.”

The teen has had a dislocated hip since the age of 2 and has been unable to receive surgery in Ireland as doctors say she is “too weak,” according to her mum.

As Katie left appointments in tears, Antoinette says: “I had to take matters into my own hands to get my child the help she needs in another country.”

The Cork teen’s opportunity in Florida will return a bill of €300,000, Antoinette says, describing it is as a “terrifying” number but the only option.

The money will cover surgery, flights, accommodation, equipment and ongoing physiotherapy for Katie.

"We must stay in Florida for at least 6 weeks following Katie’s surgery as she can’t bear weight on her leg for 6 weeks.

"After that she will have to learn to walk all over again,” Antoinette said. “But she is happy to do that, she is relieved that someone has finally identified the problem.

"There is no way on this earth I can afford to pay for this surgery myself, so I have set up a GoFundMe to try and raise the funds for Katie to finally get her the help that she needs.”

Antoinette and her daughter travelled to Poland in December for consultation with a doctor who said he can operate on Katie at his Florida practice.

“I have never seen anyone examine Katie like that,” the Cork mum said.

"He checked everything and he finally caught what was wrong, what no one else had.

"What I thought was a dislocated hip is a hell of a lot worse.”

It was revealed that Katie’s socket is turned backwards and the ball has twisted with the socket, her femur bone has also twisted and she has a hairline fracture in her pelvis.

"Katie is so strong, she always holds it together but when the doctor left the room she just burst out crying in relief that someone is finally going to help.”

Antoinette said the pair are doing all they can to get the teen to Florida and “no matter how long it takes” they are determined to get there.

"It is endless waiting lists here,” she explained. “We are like sitting ducks. We don’t know if it will be months or years that we could be waiting to be seen in Ireland and wasting our time.”

She described their battle as “soul-destroying” as they must constantly fundraise for care Antoinette believes should be accessible in Ireland.

"I am doing what I can as a parent,” she said.

The GoFundMe to support Katie’s fight to keep walking and receive treatment in Florida can be found here.

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