‘We want John to have better quality of life’

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The family of a little Derry boy who suffered severe brain damage just weeks after he was born are hoping to send him to Scotland for pioneering new therapy.

When John McCaughey was born prematurely in November 2011, he weighed just 1 lbs 7 ozs and his family was told he had less than a 50% chance of survival.

Aged just two weeks old, he contracted the Pseudomonas bacterial infection and, according to his mum Lena, “fought the fight of his life” to survive.

“However, because his body was working so hard just to stay alive, there wasn’t enough oxygen getting to his brain and, as a result, he suffered brain damage,” says Lena.

“When he was just eight weeks old, he had to have emergency sight-saving surgery. John spent the first four months of his life in hospital with many ups and downs. On a number of occasions, doctors didn’t think he would make it but he fought on and surprised everyone again and again.”

Lena adds: “John’s consultants have confirmed that he is showing signs of spastic quadriplegia - a very severe form of Cerebral Palsy which means all of his limbs are affected. John will most likely be in a wheelchair and have other physical and learning difficulties.”

Lena, however, recently came across a unique therapy which, she hopes, can dramatically improve John’s quality of life.

Advanced Biomechanical Rehabilitation (ABR) - which involves subtle massage-like pressure on the child’s body - was developed in Russia and was first used in Scotland just recently.

It has, says Lena, already had “remarkable” results.

John, who’s now 23 months old, has been booked in for the therapy at the start of November but, because it isn’t available on the NHS, his family needs to raise around £8,000 to meet annual assessment, training and travel costs.

“We just want to give my son a chance at having a better quality of life,” says Lena.

A number of events to raise funds for wee John will take place this Saturday, October 5.

At 9 p.m. at the Phoenix Bar (Park Avenue), eight volunteers will undergo a bodywaxing while, later in the evening, at 10.30 p.m., another event will take place at the nearby Argyle Arms.

Meanwhile, members of Foyle Valley Athletics Club are competing in the Glasgow Half Marathon on Sunday, October 6, to raise money for John’s fund.

if You want to find out more about John, Check out his facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/John-vs-CP/213860918768485