Making Niamh’s dream come true

Niamh is pictured with her dad Graeme Horton and her fellow pupils in primary four at Strathmore Primary School.
Niamh is pictured with her dad Graeme Horton and her fellow pupils in primary four at Strathmore Primary School.

PUPILS at Strathmore Primary School are ditching their uniform on Friday to dress up in clothes they would wear for their dream job.

Their efforts are to help fund physiotherapy treatment for primary four pupil Niamh Horton who is only the second child from Tayside to be given NHS funding for life-changing surgery.

Eight-year-old Niamh will have similar surgery to brave Brooke Ramsay from Carnoustie who, in only eight months, has made a remarkable progress.

Now Niamh’s parents - Michelle and Graeme - are waiting to find out when their daughter will undergo treatment called Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy, where the nerves in her spine will be cut.

Michelle told the Dispatch and Herald: “Niamh has had all her MRIs and videos done at Ninewells and it has all be sent down to her consultant at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

“There are only six doctors in the U.K. trained to do this and the operation will be done at Great Ormond Street. We are just waiting for the letter to come through to say when Niamh will have the operation.

“It will be similar to what Brooke went through, although Brooke’s disability was not as severe as Niamh’s. Brooke is doing unbelievably well since her operation eight months ago.”

Although NHS Tayside will fund Niamh’s surgery, the family have to fund her physiotherapy and have now set up a fund to raise between £24,000 and £30,000 which will last for two years.

Michelle continued: “Strathmore Primary School is kick-starting the fund-raising this Friday with a “dress up for your dream job day.”

“We have also set up a Facebook page called Niamh’s Dream.”

Niamh can only walk with the help of aids and uses a wheelchair a lot. It is hoped that, after the operation, she will be able to walk unaided.

Michelle continued; “She can’t dress herself and is unable to do some things, like going for a sleep-over.

“We are busy with the fund-raising side and have met with Brooke’s parents. They were advised to raise £40,000 for three years of intensive physiotherapy for Brooke as it has to be done privately. Brooke has been absolutely amazing. She had to use a walking frame for a very short time and was on a climbing frame at the weekend.”

Michelle spoke proudly of her little “trouper” who never complained about her condition.

She said: “Every child with cerebral palsy is different. Niamh didn’t walk until her third birthday when she walked with a walking frame.

“We have been told this is Niamh’s best hope - it would be amazing. Niamh never complains, she is an absolute trouper.

“She gets loads of support from everybody she meets. She a funny wee thing, very comical. She does well at school and just gets on with things. She gets on well with everyone at school.

“She’s a cheery wee soul. She has got to wear braces on her legs every night from her toes up to her thighs but she never whinges. She has to get up early every day to do exercises for 45 minutes every day and she never complains. It is part of her life and she just does it.”