Belfast Telegraph

Couple issue appeal to help daughter stricken with mystery condition

By Raymond Kilpatrick

A young couple have appealed for public help to raise enough money to fly their disabled daughter to London for a consultation with some of the world’s best doctors.

Little Aaliyah Cochrane, from Ballymoney, Co Antrim, is unable to walk or communicate.

Despite dozens of consultations with doctors across Northern Ireland her parents, Aaron and Kim, have yet to be given a reason why and her illness remains a mystery.

The four-year-old has lacked motor-neurone functions since birth and requires round-the-clock attention.

She has undergone numerous medical assessments — including MRI scans — but, as yet, the cause of her condition has not been established.

Mr Cochrane said a diagnosis would enable doctors to finally begin focusing on delivering the specific care required for the cause of Aaliyah’s condition.

He hopes experts at the world-renowned children’s hospital Great Ormond Street in London can help.

However, as Aaliyah has not been diagnosed with a specific condition the NHS won’t pay to fly the family to England for a consultation.

Now, kind-hearted friends and family in the Cochrane’s home town have been digging deep.

A poker night held earlier this month brought in over £600 and a creamery can set out Ma Kellys bar in the town is brimming with notes.

Kim said: “We want to thank everyone who has been so supportive, to date, with Aaliyah.

“Our friends and family have been there for us throughout.

“Since birth Aaliyah has had a lot of development problems,” Aaron said. “But, despite everything they have tried, they can’t get a diagnosis.

“Two MRI scans have come back clear. We have exhausted everything as have the medical professionals.

“Aaliyah can’t walk, she has no motor skills, she can’t really do anything herself. She has no communication ability whatsoever or co-ordination.

“She had quite a traumatic birth and we were aware of the problems early on but the doctors thought she would improve as she got older.

“But progress has been very, very slow.”

Aaliyah attends a physiotherapy session every week as well as regular speech and occupational therapist appointments. Kim, a full-time carer to her daughter, also looks after the couple’s other daughter, two-year-old Mia.

Aaron said a diagnosis could be life-changing for the whole family. An Easter egg draw is planned to further boost the cause. To help little Aaliyah contact Liz on 028 2766 4477.

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