The family of a south Derry boy who suffers from severe autism is urgently trying to raise funds to send him for therapy sessions which could help him to live an independent life.
Eight year-old David McGeehan completely depends on his parents Ella and Connor for feeding, dressing, going to the toilet and being put to bed.
Mum Ella said her son needs therapy treatments in the Integrative Therapy Centre for Autism in Lucan Co. Dublin but “they are very expensive.”
Ella’s dream is that one day David will be able to care for himself and call her ‘mummy’ for the first time.
They have posted a JustGiving page asking for support in raising £5,000.
David, a pupil at Magherafelt’s Kilronan School, struggles with autism, global development delay and learning disabilities.
He still wears a nappy and needs help dressing, undressing, washing, drying, feeding and toileting. He has no level of communication, social skills or any danger awareness.
Ella, who also has a three-year-old son, Matthew, says she is ‘praying’ they will have enough donations to start the therapy this May.
It will mean them having to travel to Lucan once or twice a week over the course of a year with a break in September to see how David is reacting to the treatment.
“My husband is going to run the Belfast Marathon in May 2019 for David. All money from his sponsors is going to David’s treatments,” Ella continued.
“My friend, who runs Malibu Taning Studio in Cookstown is going to support my cause.
“On International Autism Day, April 2, she is giving all her earned money to my cause.
“So by buying any products or minutes in her Studio on International Autism Day, people get treated and will help me and my son.”
Ella, who is originally from Poland, says she worries about the future for David “when we are no longer here” as they have few family living in the Mid Ulster area.
A typical day starts very early in the McGeehan house in Ballyronan when they get David up, nappy changed, washed, dressed and fed in time for the school bus.
He gets home from school around 3pm when Ella changes his nappy again and gets him prepared for going to bed later in the evening.
“I want to help my child to achieve greater independence by aiming to improve communication skills and learning potential through a range of educational, physical and development therapies,” she went on.
Ella and Connor are hoping the treatments the the Lucan centre will help develop David’s maximum potential.
Like every mother Ella wants desperately to do her best for David. She hopes her dreams of him being able to do simple tasks will come true with the treatments.