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Journalist bids to raise £80,000 for son’s ‘life-changing’ surgery

A former regional daily journalist has raised more than £60,000 to provide life-changing surgery for her son.

Emma Deighan, who worked at the Belfast News Letter before going freelance, is hoping to raise the final £20,000 needed to help three-year-old Cavan walk for the very first time.

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.

(From left) Cavan, Diarmuid and Emma

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.”


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  • May 26, 2016 at 7:53 am

    Good luck to emma and her family in raching the £20,000 needed,this would be a paltry sum for the owners of the main uk regional press groups so come on media owners,put the £20k into the pot and show us theres another side to the industry other than personal greed

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  • May 26, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    It’s so heartwarming to have the media’s support. Still one more leg of this marathon to go so if you think you can help us, please look us up.

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