Dublin parents who were advised to abort baby now fighting to give ‘miracle girl’ the best opportunities

By Amy Donohoe

Dublin parents are fighting to give their “miracle baby girl” the best opportunity of life as they are raising awareness for their daughter with spina bifida.

Claire McDaid from Donegal and her partner Jay Needham, who is originally from Tallaght, were told on the day of the 30 week scan that their baby was badly deformed and she will have no quality of life because her brain was badly swollen.

Doctors also said that they could not see a spine. The couple were told that the best option would be to go to England to get an abortion.

But Claire gave birth to their daughter T.J back in October 2020, she was named after both her grandmothers, Tina and Joan, who sadly passed away.

And then the doctors said that she would live only a few hours, so the couple started to plan the baby's funeral.

Against all odds, T.J survived and the now 11-month-old was diagnosed with spina bifida meningocele, meaning she would never have the ability to move her legs.

But the “miracle princess” has shown promising signs of movement, and her parents want to give her the best opportunity to get as much power in her legs as possible.

Her mum Claire spoke with Dublin Live about the “long road ahead”.

She said: “We were told she would be paralysed from the waist down when she was born, but she can move her legs so we want to give her the best chance.

“Ireland is very behind in spina bifida equipment and treatment, so we have to go abroad. We’ve only been to see a physio three times, but I’ve been doing as much as I can with her and she’s coming on fine.

“She’s the happiest wee girl, she reminds me of both her grannies.

“But even if we don’t get enough for Boston, there’s a place in Hungary. We want the best for her, but unfortunately, it’s all about money, it’s awful.

“It’s a different ball game in America, but if she gets treatment in Dublin she’ll be left in a wheelchair for her life.

“Her hip is out, she’s struggling to pull herself up. She needs one on one special physiotherapy and she won’t get it here.

“She will be in pain if she’s left in a wheelchair, we want her to be able to dress herself, to walk and not waddle, and have her own wee life.

“The treatment and all the special equipment for her costs about €40,000 and we really want to give her the best chance, even if people spared a fiver, it would make such a difference.”

You can donate to the fundraiser here.

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