A KILLYGORDON man is to shave his 20 year-old dreadlocks in order to raise money to fund life-changing therapy so his friend’s eleven-year-old daughter can walk unaided for the first time.
Ian ‘Doogy’ Dullaghan will go under the clippers at the Barca Bar, Ballybofey, on Sunday August 2, in aid of the Grace Harper Trust.
He is taking the brave step to help raise the thousands of euro needed to provide crucial therapy and equipment for courageous Grace Harper. Grace is the daughter of Stevie Harper, a native of Woodland, Letterkenny, who now lives in Dublin.
If she can avail of these within the next two years, she may be able to walk unassisted.
When Grace was almost a year old, she suffered two convulsions brought on by viral meningitis. As a result, she lost all of her physical abilities, including crawling and speech. Initially, the family had feared Grace would not pull through.
“Stevie is a good friend of mine and I was so touched by Grace’s story that I felt I had to do something,” Ian explained.
“I suppose you could say I’m well-known, or even infamous, for my ginger dreadlocks. I’ve had my hair like this for so long that people thought I’d never cut it. But, I feel, it is the least I could do for little Grace, so I would appeal to the people of Donegal to get behind this well-deserved cause.”
The trust has been established to raise funds that will ultimately allow Grace to live as full a life as possible and to achieve her potential.
In the coming year the trust plans to fund Grace’s rehabilitation in a number of ways. Her mum Sue and Stevie plan to take her to the Brainwave Clinic in the UK for a private assessment and therapy programme.
This centre has a proven track record in working with families to deliver individual home based therapy and exercise programmes that help children with disabilities to achieve their potential.
They also intend to hire a private physiotherapist to work with Grace in her own home once a week.
In addition, Grace has recently had a trial run on the Alter G Anti-Gravity Treadmill at the Medfit Clinic in Dublin.
The trial was promising, but it will take continuous regular sessions in order to see any results from using the Alter G, which supports Grace’s weight so that she can get used to walking movement. Over time, the percentage of weight assumed by the machine will be transferred gradually to Grace.
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