Dunmurry boy Cavan preparing for life-changing journey

Ian Green and his mum, Joan, (back left), are pictured collecting their cruise tickets from Briege McElroy, Manager of Oasis Travel Lisburn, as Cavan ONeill and his mum, Emma, look forward to the journey which they hope will change Cavans life. Pic by Bill Smyth
Ian Green and his mum, Joan, (back left), are pictured collecting their cruise tickets from Briege McElroy, Manager of Oasis Travel Lisburn, as Cavan ONeill and his mum, Emma, look forward to the journey which they hope will change Cavans life. Pic by Bill Smyth

A three-year-old Dunmurry boy who suffers from Cerebral Palsy is to undergo pioneering surgery in a bid to help him walk.

Cavan O’Neill and his parents are due to jet off to the USA next month. And they hope the specialist medical treatment available Stateside will make it a life-changing journey.

The family have received significant help towards the cost of the trip, with more than £1,821 being raised for the Cavan’s First Steps campaign through a charity raffle at the recent Oasis Travel Northern Ireland Cruise Fair at Titanic Belfast.

Lisburn man Ian Green was the lucky winner of a free Mediterranean cruise in the raffle, and early next year he’ll be whisking his mum off to enjoy a seven night luxury cruise on board Royal Caribbean’s ‘Freedom Of The Seas’ courtesy of Oasis Travel.

For the last 10 months Cavan’s First Steps has been raising funds through Tree of Hope to cover the cost of pioneering surgery in America to help the Dunmurry boy take his first steps.

Cavan suffers from Cerebral Palsy, a specific kind called Spastic Diplegia that mainly affects his legs due to tight muscle tone and spasticity which makes it difficult for him to walk. Even standing hurts and Cavan suffers from tightness in his limbs that is only getting worse as he grows.

The prospect of complex surgery is daunting, but his parents, friends and supporters are determined to give this courageous little boy the chance to get on his feet and begin living.

The funds raised at the Oasis Travel Northern Ireland Cruise Fair will fund Cavan’s flights to America in October for his operation and support some of his post-operation physiotherapy.

Speaking about the funds raised at the cruise fair, Cavan’s mum, Emma said: “Oasis Travel has been immensely supportive of our campaign from the onset in October last year.

“We were truly humbled to be offered the opportunity to raise funds at such a prestigious travel event. The fantastic amount raised will not only fund our flights to St Louis, but the excess will help us in what we know will be an intense rehabilitation period of a range of therapies.

“We will be forever grateful to Sandra, her team at Oasis Travel and those who attended the cruise fair and gave so generously and with so much compassion. We wish Ian the best of luck with his lovely prize.”

For the first time Oasis Travel’s annual celebration of holidays afloat was a two-day event, providing show-goers with expert presentations from some of the world’s leading cruise companies; one-to-one advice plus exclusive fair-only deals.

Delighted with the success of this year’s event, Sandra Corkin, Managing Director of Oasis Travel said; “We were delighted to welcome a ‘full house’ to our 2016 Fair and to showcase the astonishing variety of cruise holidays which are available to today’s travellers.”