Little TJ to travel to Budapest for life changing surgery

TJ Needham McDaid, whose mum Claire is from Drumkeen, is set to travel to Budapest for a life changing surgery which will enable her to walk.

On October 7, 2020 Claire McDaid gave birth to her baby girl, TJ, who was born with Spina Bifida Myelomeningocele resulting in her being paralysed from the waist down.

When Claire found out she was pregnant with TJ she was told her baby wouldn’t survive very long after birth as they couldn’t see her spine.


Claire was advised to travel to England for an abortion but decided against it and continued on with her pregnancy.

Speaking to the Donegal News, Claire says TJ is now two and is more or less going on twenty two.

“Her speech is perfect and the only problem she has is her legs and her feet,” she said.

Taking to Facebook, TJ’s mother Claire created a fundraising page called ‘TJ’s wish to walk’.

After seeing Claire’s page on Facebook, Doctors from Budapest reached out guaranteeing TJ a place in Budapest for surgery on her feet.

During the surgery she will also get her hamstrings straightened along with tendons put in her feet.

Undergoing this surgery will mean TJ will be able to stand after her recovery period.


Claire said since working alongside the team from Budapest major milestones have been reached in a short period of time.

“TJ crawled for the first time about three weeks ago. From November to just before Christmas I have been taking TJ to see the team as they have been visiting a boy in Newry.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity as usually you need to go over to them,” she said.

Unfortunately, here in Ireland these types of treatments are years behind.

However Claire said once TJ gets over to Budapest she will be flying.

“She will 100 per cent walk, whether that is aided or unaided, but in order for that to happen she has to get to Budapest,” she said.

TJ’s family are appealing to anyone who is interested in organising a fundraising event to get in contact.

Whether it is a 5K or a coffee morning, every penny counts to get TJ as much physio and treatment as possible.

On March 21, a doctor from Budapest will be travelling to Ireland to meet TJ’s family to arrange her operation. The doctors guarantee she will be able to walk after her operation.

If you wish to donate you can do so via or contact Claire at

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