In August, 2014 Eric and I and our 7-year old daughter, Hannah moved from Dublin to Sri Lanka, as Eric had a 2-year coaching contract there. What happened next was not what we could ever have imagined.
Soon after our arrival, the local church we were attending proposed a visit to a local orphanage for abandoned and differently abled children; I decided to go.
The conditions there were heart-breaking. Many of the children had severe disabilities, both mental and physical; however, the sisters were doing the best they could in the circumstances. It was there I immediately noticed a little 3-year old girl named Nisha.
I learned that Nisha had been in the care of the sisters since she was abandoned when she was ten days old, and that she had a condition called closed lipped schizenchephaly, a form of Cerebral Palsy.
The connection that I felt with Nisha was instantaneous. I picked her up from her cot, held her for an hour, and wept. I knew that I could not leave her behind; but how could I break this news to Eric?
Over the following weeks Eric and I had many long and heartfelt discussions, often into the night, about adopting Nisha. We visited her every day at the orphanage; having to leave her behind each day was gut- wrenching, as the bond between us all grew.
In December, 2014, after speaking to the Mother Superior at the orphanage, we began the process of adopting Nisha.
Although the adoption process was long and arduous, it helped that we were able to volunteer in the orphanage, spending time caring for the children and teaching their class every morning. This also enabled us to develop an even closer relationship with Nisha. She began to call us Ama (Mum) and Tata (Dad).We were also so proud of the courage that Hannah displayed, visiting the orphanage and helping the children while also getting to know her soon-to-be little sister.
We will never forget the 23rd of March, 2016, the day Nisha finally came home with us. Watching the girls brushing their teeth together before bedtime was worth waiting for.
Nisha’s condition means she has permanent spasticity (tightness) in her muscles, which causes her pain. It also inhibits her mobility and she is unable to walk independently. Without intervention her mobility will continue to deteriorate as she grows.
Unfortunately this intervention is not available in Ireland and so it will require us to bring Nisha to the St. Louis’ Children’s Hospital in Missouri U.S. A. to undergo Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) surgery. The surgery must also be combined with a 2-year intensive rehabilitation programme, which can be done in Ireland. This surgery has proven very successful for many patients with Cerebral Palsy, to permanently reduce their spasticity. The goal would be for her to be able to walk independently.
We need to raise 70,773 Euros to finance the surgery and the rehabilitation programme. You can help Nisha reach her target by taking part in the "GO FUND ME FIVE" campaign. Every 5 Euros donated will get Nisha closer to her next step.
To contribute 5 euros,simply click DONATE NOW.
We are extremely grateful to all of you who contribute to Nisha’s campaign.
Please help us spread the word!
Thanking you in advance,
Eric, Jenny, Hannah and Nisha
- Eric Duignan
- Alan Kennedy
- Daire McNamara
- Alex Heuff
- Anonymous *
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