A 14-year-old girl who had a stroke earlier this year has just returned from a ‘trip of a lifetime’ thanks to the charity Dreamflight.
Roisin Quinn spent three months in hospital after having a stroke in January and her rehabilitation is ongoing.
The Thornhill College pupil has restricted movement in her right arm and continues to wear a brace on one of her legs.
Roisin has returned to school on a part time basis and gets daily therapy at Spruce House, including physiotherapy and occupational therapy.
The prospect of a trip to Florida with the charity Dreamflight spurred Roisin on in the early days of her recovery.
She wanted to be out of her wheelchair and not to be reliant on a crutch by the time she went.
Her mum Jacqueline explained that Roisin has had to overcome many major hurdles in the last ten months and the stroke has been life changing for the entire family.
“She has had to put a lot of hard work into her recovery. She still uses a crutch in school, but she is able to manage without a walking aid outside school.
“Roisin has also had to get used to having to repeat a year at school, make new friends and adjust to having a classroom assistant.”
The teen was due to see an upper limb specialist this week to see if anything can be done to improve the movement of her right arm. “Roisin can lift her arm to a certain level but can’t extend her fingers. The improvement since January is massive but her arm hasn’t made the same recovery,” Jacqueline said. “Our next goal is to try and improve the movement of her arm and we hope the specialist will be able to recommend a specialist rehabilitation centre.
“The therapy she has had is absolutely brilliant because she is only 14 and had a stroke there aren’t the same facilities available here as there are for adults.”
Dreamflight takes 192 children from all across the UK with a disability or serious illness on the holiday of a lifetime. They go to Florida without their parents and are cared for by medical professionals.
Roisin was nominated by one of the nurses involved in her care and when she found out there were ‘tears in her eyes at the thought of going away without parents’.
“It really was the trip of a lifetime. 16 children were picked from Northern Ireland and Roisin was one of them. Because there was round the clock medical care I didn’t have to worry one bit while she was away,” Jacqueline said.
“Roisin got to meet other people who had differing levels of disability or sickness while she was away and that was good for her.
“It was a break for us as well because we are always together. Going to all these different appointments and sorting her medicines is a full time job.”
Roisin said meeting the other children put things into perspective for her.
“I saw other children whose disabilities were much worse and I realised maybe I am not as bad. I would like full power in my leg and arm because I miss simple things like buttering bread or tying my hair and laces. It is really tough.”
Roisin’s favourite part of the trip, which involved visiting six different theme parks, was swimming with Dolphins.
“Dreamflight are going to look into getting swimming lessons for me. I love swimming but because I am not able to use both arms fully it is very difficult.
“If I get the lessons who knows, maybe I will be in the Paralympics in the future.”