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Family's appeal to help fund daughter's life-changing op to cure brain cyst

By Donna Deeney

The family of a young woman in need of radical brain surgery available only in Australia is calling on the generosity of the public to help them raise £45,000.

Rachel McGettigan (24) has already travelled Down Under where she is awaiting treatment for the extreme pain, spasms and bouts of prolonged debilitation she has suffered from for almost a decade.

A head injury from a fall when she was 14 left her severely debilitated and meant she had to learn to walk again. She was later diagnosed with dystonia, scoliosis and fibromyalgia but a recent diagnosis in Australia detected a 14mm-long brain cyst which the specialist believes is the real cause of her disabilities.

Rachel travelled to Perth with her partner and young son Zak, where preliminary tests were conducted and she had a consultation with the specialist brain surgeon Dr Charles Teo earlier this week. He told her she was a prime candidate for surgery which he was confident would give her a greatly increased quality of life and remove the fear that the cyst would prove fatal.

Distraught with concern but determined to do whatever is necessary, Rachel's parents in Londonderry have embarked on a massive fundraising campaign to pay for their daughter's surgery and treatment.

Her mother Joanne said: "This is our child, it doesn't matter what age she is, she is still our baby and like any parent, we would do anything and everything for her because she needs us so much right now.

"I truly believe this operation will be Rachel's cure and the cure we have prayed so long for.

"People have been so incredibly good.

"We have people who have taken it upon themselves to help organise all kinds of fundraising events and just two days after the donation page was set up we already have £11,000.

"The people of Derry and further afield are amazing and it is only when you find yourself in a situation like this that you find out just how amazing they are.

"We have had strangers, people we have never met or heard of, making donations which has touched us deeply."

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