Tot who doctors said wouldn’t see first birthday ready to start school

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WHEN little Katie Maguire was born doctors said she would not live to see her first birthday.

But almost five years on the seriously ill tot, who flew to America to receive life saving treatment as a baby, has more than surpassed medical expectation.

The little girl from Castledawson will start her first day at school this September at Dungannon’s Buddy Bear School and last week got the chance to become acquainted with her new teacher as well as a very special visitor.

Along with parents Gary McCann and Mekila Maguire Katie met US Acting Deputy American Consul General Penny Wilkinson with Buddy Bear Trust Chairman Brendan McConville at a special event held at the Kilyman Road school recently.

The four year-old, who suffers from a rare form of epilepsy, has cerebral palsy and is blind, also met with principal Mrs Ildiko Veres at the special event.

“This is a major milestone for us,” dad Gary told the MAIL.

“We are delighted and over the moon to find a school like Buddy Bear and very excited for Katie’s progress.”

“When Katie was born we were told she wouldn’t see her first birthday, but since then she has came on leaps and bounds and has battled huge obstacles in her way,” Gary said.

“She’s already met her teacher and will be having a few settling in days over the summer so she will be set for September and she is really enjoying it.”

The private Dungannon school, owned by registered charity the Buddy Bear Trust, provides conductive education for children, who suffer from cerebral palsy and other motor disorders.

It has received pledges of support from many high profile names and political representatives including Prime Minister David Cameron.

Speaking at the recent gathering at the school, US Acting Deputy Consul General Mrs Penny Wilkinson reaffirmed a long standing friendship with The Buddy Bear Trust in its campaign to provide conductive education for children with cerebral palsy.