Parents’ plea for wheelchair help for brave little Sonny, 4

by Sylvia Pownall

A Baldoyle couple are desperately trying to raise funds to make their house wheelchair-friendly so their young son can get around it.

Little Sonny Murphy was born with spina bifida and global development delay, and is paralysed from the belly button down.

The four-year-old, who also has learning difficulties, uses a wheelchair but the family home is not adapted for his needs, so he often gets stuck and becomes isolated.

His mum, Karen (39), says they are entitled to a €28,500 grant from the Government – but the work will cost an estimated €80,000.

They are now trying to raise funds using the crowdfunding site GoFundMe, with 166 kind supporters donating more than €7,500 over the past month.

Mum-of-three Karen revealed: “We have to adapt our home as soon as possible. Sonny is getting bigger and heavier. The house is not wheelchair accessible at all.

“Sonny cannot get from room to room with the current layout. Our hope is to have his bedroom downstairs with a wet room, and to make the whole ground floor accessible for Sonny.”

Contracting meningitis as a baby left Sonny, who is non-verbal, with a lot of complications. But even though he spent his first months in and out of hospital, Karen says he is a joy to be around.

She said: “He cannot sit unaided and will never walk. But despite all of this he is such a resilient, strong boy who is always smiling. We are very lucky to have him.”

She added: “Sonny is a whizz in his manual wheelchair, but it takes a lot of his energy. He is training in a power chair, but it will not be given to him until the house is adapted.

“We want to stay in our home for lots of reasons, but most of all because Baldoyle is the perfect place to raise a child like Sonny.

“Baldoyle loves Sonny, and Sonny loves Baldoyle.

“The whole area is wheelchair-friendly … we need to fix our home so it offers him the same independence.”

To donate, see the GoFundMe here.

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