Young city mum needs help to raise funds for brain surgery

Rachel McGettigan.
Rachel McGettigan.

A young mother who has suffered chronic pain since falling from a trampoline when she was fourteen is relying on the generosity of the people of Londonderry to facilitate life-changing brain surgery in Australia.

Twenty-four year-old Rachel travelled to Australia after ten years of treatment and medical testing here had failed to provide her with a better quality of life.

Rachel has suffered from extreme pain and spasms for almost a decade.

She explained: “I suffer from dystonia, scoliosis, cervical lordosis of the spine, muscle wastage and a 14-millimetre cyst in the brain.

“After my consultation I have been informed that surgery is necessary to improve my quality of life and hopefully lessen my chronic pain which occurs daily.

“I have a beautiful boy named Zac, aged three, who asked the neurosurgeon ‘to make mummy’s head better’. We are currently seeking medical help in Australia.

“The problem is that the surgeon is located in Sydney in a private hospital and costs 82,000 Australian dollars (£45,000). The neurosurgeon could perform it ASAP but the only problem is the funding.

“I could go on forever but as you can picture, it’s not really the quality of life a 24-year-old should have.”

Having sent her medical files to clinical experts around the world, Australian Dr Charles Teo, undertook to examine Rachel.

According to her Australian medical team, the cyst rests on Rachel’s pineal gland thereby causing the extreme levels of pain and body distortions she has suffered for years.

The test for Rachel’s family now is to raise the £45,000 necessary to pay for her medical treatment.

As well as a number of fund raising events, friends and family have already contributed in excess of £6,000 thereby raising 10 per cent of the money required in the first two days of their campaign. One donor who wishes to remain anonymous handed the family a contribution of £5,000.

Foyle SDLP MLA Pat Ramsey is backing the fund raising campaign.

He said: “This is a very sad case. I know Rachel and her family personally and the strength, courage and dignity with which she has dealt with her illness has been inspirational. I certainly hope she can undergo the surgery which would give her a new lease if not a new way of life, which is particularly poignant at Easter time.”

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