Carl Frampton's surprise visit proves to be a knockout Easter hit for little fan Rory, whose biggest wish is to walk
Two-time world boxing champ Carl Frampton brought an Easter gift of hope for a little boy who has been battling to walk.
Carl and wife Christine made a special 200-mile round trip from Belfast to welcome four-year-old Rory Gallagher home from a Spanish rehabilitation facility.
Rory, from Cliffoney, Co Sligo, has cerebral palsy, which was diagnosed at eight months, and he and parents Shauna and Gerry Gallagher have been battling medical administrators in Ireland ever since for treatment for the child.
They were told he would spend his life in a wheelchair and was legally blind.
But after treatment in America through funds raised by his family and friends Rory's legs - locked scissors-like - were straightened.
His vision also improved - but there is to be more surgery and medical assistance in the US.
He is home for a three-week break from a neurological rehabilitation centre in Spain.
Carl, former world super-bantamweight and featherweight double title-holder and still ranked in the top two, said he had known Rory since the youngster attended homecoming championship celebrations in Belfast last year.
He said: "Christine and I have kept in touch with him and his family ever since.
"We had a break over Easter and decided to drop in to see how Rory was when he arrived home from Spain."
Apart from Easter eggs and colouring books, Carl donated to Rory's fundraiser several thousand euro and sports memorabilia, including his jacket worn for the Leo Santa Cruz fight, and boots from the Scott Quigg fight and a glove signed by Leo Santa Cruz and Carl.
Carl added: "Rory needs a lot more treatment and his parents are doing their best for him, like any parent would, but they keep meeting obstacles placed by medical administrators in Ireland.
"I hope Rory will get the dream he wants and be able to walk without any problems."
Rory's mum Shauna said her son was awestruck as Carl walked through the door.
"When Carl and his wife and their two children arrived to welcome Rory home from Spain he was absolutely delighted," she said.
"There was such great excitement.
"Rory sat in awe as he saw Carl coming through the kitchen door.
"It was the most precious moment.
"I was overwhelmed. I couldn't help but cry."
Shauna said both Rory's hips were currently in difficulty and he is likely to soon return to the US for more surgery.
The devoted mum, a former employee of Ireland's Health Service Executive (HSE), complained that Rory was still waiting for special aids promised by the HSE last November and which are unlikely to be produced until June because an out-of-action workshop won't be operating again until May.
She said: "This is ridiculous and unfair. They have been neglecting Rory from day one and any piece of equipment which he requires has to be fought for."
The family is currently trying to raise €122,000, which has to be paid upfront for surgeries for Rory.
- Details can be found on www.gofundme.com/roryswishtowalk.