A former regional daily journalist has raised more than £60,000 to provide life-changing surgery for her son.
Cavan was 18-months-old when he was diagnosed with a form of cerebral palsy known as spastic diplegia, which causes muscle tightness in his legs, affecting his ability to walk.
Last October Emma and partner Diarmuid set up a charity called Cavan’s First Steps, with the aim of raising the necessary £80,000 to cover costs of the operation, known as Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy, which can be performed at St Louis Children’s Hospital in Missouri, USA.
A ball and sponsored walk are planned for next weekend in Belfast, which Emma hopes will raise the necessary funds.
The charity has been backed by Ireland international rugby player Tommy Bowe, as well as the Belfast Giants ice hockey team.
Emma, 37, said: “To have these sporting personalities back our campaign has been truly humbling. When I first heard of the surgery, I knew we couldn’t bypass it and I think every parent in our position would do the same.
“Cavan has just turned three and he is passionate about every sport he is introduced to. He wants so much to be on his feet. He watched 45 minutes of the London Marathon on television and now gets us to hold him by the waist to help him run.
“He’s also very passionate about rugby and ice hockey and more recently, boxing because he’s met these sporting stars along his wee journey.”
She added: “If there’s a possibility to get Cavan on his feet then we have to pursue it, but we had no idea how our campaign would go and never did we believe we would have Tommy Bowe, The Belfast Giants and sportspersons who Cavan looks up to backing us.”