An Ulster mother has spoken of her hope that a trip to the US for her four-year-old son to have pioneering treatment involving a space suit will finally enable him to walk.
Little Corey Brown has suffered from a rare brain disorder known as Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum since birth. Affecting less than a dozen people in Ireland, it leaves him with no control over his movements. The Beechmount youngster is also unable to walk or talk.
Miss Brown said she was in the US in 2003 to meet other families coping with the rare disease when she was told about the state-of-the-art medical treatment available there.
It involves an intensive programme which will see him get physiotherapy for three hours a day, every day for three weeks, in Florida.
Corey will be put into a special astronaut suit which is designed to work his muscles in zero gravity for the three hour sessions.
The hope is that, in the long term, it will strengthen his legs enough so that he will be able to walk one day.
Miss Brown, who also has an 11-week-old baby girl called Imani, said she would try anything to help her son.
"We don't know whether this will work or not but I'm really happy that we have something to try for him," she said.
"My hope is that Corey will be able to walk for himself one day, he's at the same level as a four-month-old now. There's no cure for this condition but it's exciting to think that there is a treatment out there that might help him improve. We would try anything for him. When I heard about it over in America, I thought we have to have a go."
The treatment has already produced positive results among people with Cerebral Palsy, and doctors are reported to be confident that it will help the west Belfast child.
"There was a seven-year-old child who was told by doctors that he would never walk. He started the treatment and within a year he was crawling," the mother added.
Miss Brown, her two children, her partner Anthony and her mother Eileen are hoping to fly out to Florida next month and are currently working to raise the £6,000 needed for the treatment and their living costs while they are there.
A night of entertainment and fundraising events are to be held at the Devenish Complex on October 26 and the Brown family are asking people to come along and support the initiative.
"I'm really touched with how generous people have been so far. American Nails, where my mum works, gave us £2,000 and Continental Airlines have given us free flights," she added.
"There's plenty planned for the night in the Devenish, such as a raffle with really good prizes and entertainment, so it would be great if everyone came along.
"We have a long road ahead of us and people's generosity means the world to us."