Finns Fund for walking
Finn Oscar (6) was born at 29.5 weeks to Claire and Michael Dempsey in 2008. We all live in Dublin, Ireland with our white Alsatian Sophie.
Due to Finn's traumatic birth he had a bleed in his brain that resulted in him being diagnosed with quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy - basically the part of the brain that controls his gross motor skills and means he cannot control his arms and legs as normal. Irish doctors classified him as having a minimal chance of improving his position so we have sought further advice abroad. To date we have been to clinics in Slovakia and we are currently in Toronto to give intense physio to Finn and after constant work at home we have seen small but significant improvements - he can now sit independently for short periods of time and is using his left hand and he loves using the iPad.
In 2013 Finn was lucky enough to start working at an amazing clinic in Toronto, Canada called Health in Motion where he does 2 hours each day in physio and 1.5 hours of massage and stretching. He went there 3 times last year and he is in the middle of his first trip this year. We are planning 3 more trips this year so he will be spending 20 weeks in total in Canada. We are lucky to have amazing cousins living over there whose hospitality and support have made it all the easier to be away from home for such lengths of time. The improvements he has made in the last year have been amazing, he has learnt to roll, sit by himself and is almost crawling with just a little support. We are really excited to see the results that this year will bring.
Our goal is to help Finn lead as normal a life as possible. We intend to get Finn strong enough via physio so that he can be suitable for a spinal operation to remove his high Tone (rigid arms and legs) - It's called SDR - spinal dorsal rhizotomy, performed in St Louis in the States. The spine is opened and each nerve is examined and the damaged nerves are removed. By removing the damaged spinal nerves it gives him a better chance to balance himself and he will have more control over his limbs and general movement. The operation costs 50K and is obviously serious but is it equally important to follow up with intense physio as the operation removes damaged muscles/nerves in his spine and need to be built back up again over the following months and this accounts for the remaining funds as we intend to hire an SDR experienced physio to live with us for 6 months post Op
Finn is a delightful child and brings great joy and happiness to our lives. He is developing his own personality and has the curiosity and interests of a normal 6 year old
Your donations will go directly to help Finn's physio and operation and large or small are all greatly appreciated. We welcome your comments and questions
We've been mad busy but you don't want to hear excuses so I thought I'd share with you some footage of Finn today. It was his last day in Senior infants and he wanted to say a big thanks to his teacher Ms. Dunne and his SNA Synthia.
Not only is he walking but he is growing in confidence every day.
I'd like to thank all of you for taking an interest in Finns journey but as you can see he really is making leaps and bounds. He recognises his own progress and is encouraged to push himself harder.
Our most recent project is to make the back garden wheelchair accessible so Finn can enjoy the garden even outside the normal 5 days of the Irish Summer.
The other pic is Finn with Kishan his Thursday Physio, a really cool guy who Finn loves working with.
As usual, some thank you's - I still owe Jenny and Francis Hastie a "Thank You" card for the movie night and the Central Banks Got Talent was a roaring success and they even hosted Finn in the bank where they presented him with a huge cheque
The next event is Kieran McGlynns Golf Classic, Sept 12th at Newlands Golf Club
Oh and of course, to Claire who works tirelessly with Finn daily and will succeed where many believed we could not, in changing Finns life for beyond measure.
I hope you are all doing well.
A few quick thank you's for some of our incredible army of Finn supporters. A big shout out to Jenny and Francis Hastie - who ran a very successful cinema night and raffle in Belfast recently.
Last December the St. Gerard's School in Bray hosted a Charity Bazaar and have generously nominated Finn as a beneficiary, so a big thank you to Head Boy - Mark Cantwell & Head Girl Elena Tice along their teacher Fiona Fair for all the hard work that went into this.
I have included a few pics and a video to show you Finn's progress - Honestly, he is going from strength to strength and is walking better and further every day, admittedly with supports but breaking barriers daily - and as you can see - always with a smile
Finn has a long road ahead of him but is enjoying learning how his new body can move and how life is so much easier without his spasticity. We are working so hard - with Claire doing physio sessions every day incorporating stretching, walking, cycling, an excellent home strengthening and conditioning programme and quartlerly visits over to Scotland to Walk This Way UK.
Other plans we have are to open the back garden to Finn by adding artificial grass with a wheelchair ramp and modifying the house to accommodate Finn"s abilities such as a stair lift which will be needed very soon as Finn is growing as fast as a beanstalk at the moment!
Upcoming events - A neighbour of ours, Kieran McGlynn has offered to run a Golf Classic Fundraiser in Newlands Golf Club on September 12th next so if anyone fancies a game of golf - let me know.
Have a good night
Finn is now 2 months Post Op and he is going from strength to strength. He is back in school and really coming along both mentally and physically.
Physically he is still weaker than he was pre-op but he has made great progress and is beginning to weight bear again. Claire continues to work with Finn on a daily basis and Finn is learning what his "New" body is capable of. We also have him on his bike and his Walker as often as the Irish weather allows.
Finn has just learned about Valentines day and is slightly worried that in a Leap year, girls can ask boys out but now, he can run away
Thanks to everyone who has shown an interest in Finn and to those still fundraising (Jenny B running a Cinema Night, Strand Cinema, Hollywood Road, Tuesday 1st March)
Our next challenge is to understand what house modifications Finn will require going forward - Chairlift, Bathhoists, etc
So thank you everyone, have a great Valentines day
Quick pic of Finnbo post Op, up in his chair and delighted to be back on his iPad. He sat up for the first time yesterday and started slight physio including rolling independently today. They say a picture tells a thousand words. Look at Finns legs - he's sitting unaided and has no strapping on his ankles or legs and for the first time in his life his legs are not crossing and pushing against each other. Claire has already noticed a significant improvement in his legs from the removal of the high tone. It's not all been plain sailing, he has experienced some leg spasms but this can be normal post op so hopefully he is through the worst and both he and Claire are looking forward to leaving the hospital for the first time in 5 days tomorrow
As a family - the Dempsey's would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a peaceful New Year, we have already got the best present we could wish for, so thank you again
Finn you are just amazing. Always always smiling!! You are walking so well now ....Great! Best wishes to you and your Mum and Dad. Keep up the good work! xxx
Finn. You are amazing....a true hero and I am sure you have stolen many many hearts.....not just on Valentines Day. Keep up the good work! Big hugs. x
Brilliant to see how well he is doing and what a mega watt smile he has. Have a lovely Christmas and wishing you all the very best for the year ahead too! xx
Wonderful news! What a grafter he is and he even manages a sleepy smile for the camera! Loving those PJ's by the way. Hugs to you all. It will be worth it in the end!
Congrats Finn on getting accepted for the operation. I am not sure if everyone appreciates that if we were to do half the work that you put in we could all be doing one handed jumping handstands. keep it up