Kate belongs to a family of six. She is the second youngest with three older brothers, one older sister and one younger sister. Kate was born 3 and a 1/2 months premature by emergency C-Section in 1994. At birth, Kate weighed just over 2 pounds.  Kate spent the first five months of her life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in the Maternity Hospital Limerick.  At 18 months old, we noticed Kate was still not crawling or walking. She was simply pulling herself around on the ground using all her upper body strength, dragging her legs behind her. We knew something was wrong. At 2 years old, Kate was diagnosed with Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy (CP). This is a physical disability which causes the muscles in both legs to be constantly “spastic” (stiff or tight). As a result, deformities of the lower limbs have developed and Kate has an abnormal walking pattern.  We were told Kate would never walk and would spend her life in a wheelchair. We refused to accept this, so I spent many hours travelling to doctors and physiotherapy appointments with her, doing physiotherapy with her multiple times a day, watching her cry in pain, as I stretched her legs to prevent the muscle tightness. As a mother, it was heart breaking to watch my daughter cry and not be able to ease her pain. However, I knew in my heart and soul, she would walk one day. Just before her 4th birthday, Kate took her first steps. She had surpassed all expectations and confounded earlier predictions.

Throughout her childhood, Kate tried her hardest to be active despite her physical disability. She attended Milford N.S. where she played Gaelic Football and Camogie. Although, she couldn't walk or run as fast as everyone else, Kate was determined to not let her disability beat her. She enjoyed being outdoors playing sports or being with friends. However, at the age of 11, Kate broke her kneeecap after she fell while running during PE. This was when Kate realised she was not as physically capable as everyone else so she decided to not continue playing sports into her teenage years. In Castletroy College, Kate showed a keen interest in Science, particularly Chemistry. She also showed interest in Forensic Science from watching popular TV crime shows and documentaries. At 17, Kate decided she wanted to study Chemistry with Forensic Science in University College Cork (UCC).  But first, she had to undergo surgery on both of her legs in Cappagh National Orthopaedic Hospital to release her tight achilles tendons. This was devastating for Kate because she had to miss 8 weeks of her Leaving Cert year to recover while knowing she still had to achieve enough points in her Leaving Cert to do her dream course. However, she proved to us just how much of a hard-worker she is when she got the required points and accepted into the course in the first round.

Kate has spent the last number of years studying tirelessly and has just graduated from UCC with her Honours Degree in Chemistry with Forensic Science. Kate hopes to go on to do her postgraduate studies in Forensic Science. However, without this surgery, this won't be possible,  as we have now been told Kate’s legs will continue to age prematurely as the spasticity in her legs increases. This will cause Kate further pain, loss of balance, falls, loss of mobility and ultimately Kate will end up wheelchair bound. Once more Kate has been told she will not walk. 

But there is hope. That hope is Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) surgery which will take place in St. Louis Children's Hospital in the United States in August 2018. SDR will permanently reduce the spasticity causing the stiffness in both of Kate's legs. As a result,  it will eliminate the pain that Kate is currently experiencing when walking and prevent further deterioration. Most importantly, it will enable Kate to continue walking for the rest of her life.

We don't want to see Kate suffer in silence any longer with pain when walking, sleepless nights or falls caused by spasticity, we just want to see her live a happy healthy future.

Thank you for taking the time to read our story. 

Anne Moroney (Kate's mum)

T.S Park's PRedictions for kate post sdr

  • Spasticity will  be permanently reduced. 
  • Sitting and standing postures will improve.
  • Transitions between postures will improve.
  • Level of comfort will improve - no more pain caused by spasticity. 
  • Improved gait (walking) pattern.
  • Improved balance and endurance.
  • Independent walking in all environments such as beaches, sloped and uneven surfaces etc. 
  • SDR will prevent future deterioration