Co Down family left ‘overwhelmed’ after surgery fundraising campaign for sport mad 9-year-old boy generates over £50k

The family of a young Co Down GAA player have described being “overwhelmed” at the fundraising support they have received to aid his treatment.

llie Farrell from Clonduff was diagnosed with juvenile scoliosis in 2016 at the age of just 3-years-old.

Now 9-years-old, the sport loving boy requires urgent spinal surgery in Turkey as a result of his condition rapidly progressing.

Thanks the contributions of people far and wide, the family have smashed their initial GoFundMe target and raised over £50,000 for the procedure – which costs around 40,000 euros on its own, in addition to the flights, accommodation and insurance.

Mum Sarah explained the family did not expect the level of support they have received from right across the community.

“Ollie was diagnosed with Juvenile Scoliosis in 2016 at 3 years old. We hoped bracing and exercise would prevent spinal surgery, however his thoracic spine curve is now measuring 87 degrees, which requires immediate surgery.

“Ollie is funny, loving and football mad. He loves our local club Clonduff GAC which he has been a member of since u6s. He is a dual player, playing football and hurling.

“He loves Manchester United and all the soccer trivia. His dream is to play senior football for Clonduff and win the championship like his Granda.

“Since his dramatic progression this year we have frantically researched alternative surgery that could save the movement in his back, allow him to grow and live a normal life.

“We flew to Turkey to meet with world class surgeon Prof. Dr Ahmet Alanay, we hoped for positive news but instead we found out surgery is needed now. We knew surgery was inevitable but we didn’t think it would have to be immediately.

“Ollie deals with his scoliosis with fierce determination he doesn’t let anything stop him, he never misses gaelic training or a match.”

She added: “Darren, I, and Ollie’s whole family are all overwhelmed with the fundraising. We never expected the response we have received, the number of people calling to the house, ringing, and texting with kind wishes and prayers.

“We appreciate every single donation and supportive message. The GAA community far and wide has been amazing, especially our local clubs Clonduff and Rostrevor.

“We will never forget the generosity people have shown us. Ollie has a long road ahead. We have to travel to Turkey for regular follow-ups, and Ollie will have to have more surgery in the future. But we are thankful for everyone’s help to give him this opportunity.”

To donate to the GoFundMecampaign for Ollie – click here 

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