Little Cora floating on air as magic carpet costume wows fancy dress parade
A father has told of his joy after his seriously ill daughter won a fancy dress parade dressed as one of her favourite Disney characters.
Cora McQuade-Denvir (10), from Carnlough in Co Antrim, impressed the judges as she floated through the village festival dressed as Princess Jasmine on Aladdin's magic carpet, a creation that was handmade by her father Ciaran (33).
The little girl, who is confined to a wheelchair and suffers from epilepsy, cerebral palsy, blindness, scoliosis and hydrocephalus, is still on a high after what her dad said was the highlight of the year.
"She smiled all day and lapped it up," Ciaran said. "It definitely lifts her spirits. She loves the attention and people coming up and talking to her."
Cora took first place in the 'Most Prettiest' category and was crowned 'Best in the Parade' last week, adding more silverware to her growing collection after eight years of competing.
Her success follows a particularly worrying year in 2018 for parents Amy (31) and Ciaran, when chest issues left Cora in intensive care. Now she is stable again, the family are reflecting on her years of parading as a princess after she defied the 10-year life expectancy she was given.
"She's an inspiration, a fighter," Amy said.
Ciaran added: "There's not many things that you can do when you're disabled, especially in a small village, so that was the main thing we could.
"It's really nice because some people can be quite stand-offish and don't know what way to approach her, but everyone in Carnlough knows Cora really well. The parade is a highlight. We don't do that much, we find that it's hard to get out."
Cora has struggled with her health since she was born prematurely at 28 weeks in 2008, suffering three brain haemorrhages in the aftermath. She will celebrate her 11th birthday this weekend, another exciting day in the family's calendar.
Proud dad Ciaran also spoke of his joy at using his passion for art to put a smile on his daughter's face.
While the parents provide round-the-clock care for Cora, who can no longer attend school due to her condition, Ciaran used every spare minute over the last six months to create the extravagant costume.
"It's our wee escape," he said. "Everyone says how amazing the costumes are, but I don't really do it for that. It's for Cora."
Cora is a huge fan of Disney films and even chose to name her dog 'Chip' after the much-loved character from Beauty And The Beast.
Her parents said they have been overwhelmed by the community's support and are already planning next year's costume.