THE THOUGHTS and prayers of the people of Kilkenny are with little Katie Lonergan who will undergo a life changing operation in Missouri later this morning.
Her family who are by her side have been inundated with goodwill wishes from the people of Kilkenny.
The operation, which will take six hours is scheduled to take place at 1.30pm Irish time. After the operation three-year-old Katie will remain in bed for three days and be allowed no movement. Her parents Aisling and John and her little brother Jamie are all due to arrive at the hospital in St Louis at 11.30am Irish time this morning.
“I am quite nervous now - I cannot believe the time has come and Katie is next up on the operating table. We are so thankful to everyone for keeping katie in their thoughts and prayers. It really is a great comfort to us. Being so far from home is tough but getting all the messages and well wishes makes home seem that little bit closer,” her mother Aisling said.
Katie will be serial casted for a week from Monday. This will give her weak muscles a good stretch especially her calf and heel cord muscles. Her parents have been told that it will be similar to having a broken leg. Katie will then have to wear splints - she will have three different types for various activities. She will also have night splints to wear while asleep and knee immobilisers for night time too.
Katie, who is from Owning in South Kilkenny, is a surviving twin who was born 15 weeks premature. After her twin Conor passed away, Katie fought a long hard battle to survive. She was diagnosed as profoundly deaf on discharge from hospital and received a cochlear implant in September 2011. At 18 months Katie was officially diagnosed as having cerebral palsy and her family were advised that Katie would never walk.
However after discovering about groundbreaking treatment in Missouri which make enable Katie to walk independently her family organised a fundraising campaign which to date has raised over €60,000.
See www.kilkennypeople.ie for further updates.