Scaling new heights for a good cause

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by Gillian McDade

A HUSBAND and wife whose daughter has hemiplegia, will be putting their best feet forward to climb Slieve Donard this weekend.

Draperstown woman Mary Carey, husband Adrian and Mary’s colleague Sammy-Jo Dickson from Cookstown clothing store DV8 will be hoping to raise as much as possible for Hemi Chat, a charitable organisation set up by parents whose children have hemiplegia.

The trio will be taking on the arduous task with a group of ten other parents in Northern Ireland with the secondary focus of raising awareness of the condition.

Mary and Adrian believe their daughter Clídna was born with the condition as she was unable to grasp with her left hand.

“We knew something was wrong with Clídna because she could only roll the one way,” Mary told the MAIL.

“She also had difficulty sleeping and we tried all the Supernanny routines which didn’t work, because the pain on her left side might have been causing this. So we went to our GP who referred us to consultants and she was then diagnosed with the condition.

“We don’t have any other children so we know no different. But she’s a wee star,” added Mary.

Hemiplegia is a condition that affects one side of the body, and is caused by damage to one side of the brain, which may happen before, during or soon after birth. Childhood hemiplegia affects one child in 1000 and the obvious result is a varying degree of weakness and lack of control in the affected side of the body, rather like the effects of a stroke.

In one child this may be very obvious, in another it may be so slight, causing speech, vision, and learning problems, or emotional and behaviour issues.

“HemiChat have helped us so much and it allows us to get in touch with other parents who have children with hemiplegia. So now I want to give something back, and gain as much support as I can for this charity,” added Mary.

You can support the trio at www.justgiving.com/hemichat.