A terminally ill Carnlough girl needs your help to fulfil one of her last wishes to meet her pop idols Little Mix.
Brave Cora McQuade-Denvir, who is just seven years old, was born prematurely with a host of illnesses and is now experiencing brain failure.
After doctors told her parents Amy and Ciaran that Cora’s condition is deteriorating, family friend Antoinette Boden set up a petition to encourage Little Mix’s management company Modest Management to let Cora meet her idols when they visit Belfast for a concert on April 19.
Amy told the Times: “Cora was born at just 28 weeks with 80 per cent of her brain tissue missing, so her brain has had to rewire as it doesn’t have the parts that let her move, breathe or communicate.
“She suffers from incurable epilepsy, dystonia, cerebral palsy, hydrocephaly with a shunt, she has a peg to enable her to be fed via a tube, she is completely blind, has scoliosis and has no communication skills.
“She can’t walk or talk or even sit up or hold up her head, but she loves music and her favourite band is Little Mix.
We are praying that Cora will live for long enough to attend the Little Mix concertAmy McQuade-Denvir
“When their music comes on she squeals and giggles, which she shouldn’t even be physically capable of doing, and she relaxes.
“She listens to Little Mix on a loop, it is never off in our house!”
Despite her medical conditions, the family have tried to ensure that Cora lives as full a life as possible, and last year Cora was the flower girl at her parents’ wedding.
“We got married in July and Cora was so happy, she squealed in the church and it was so cute,” her mother recalled.
“Then in November we went in for sleep studies on Cora and our world just crumbled.
“They said her health had deteriorated quite badly and to take her home and enjoy Christmas because they didn’t think she would be here for the next one.
“They told us she was struggling to breathe, and she requires a noninvasive ventilator to breathe for her at night to keep her with us.
“Cora is now in brain failure so we are trying to cram in as much as possible to the time she has left, she is sleeping for longer every day and sometimes wouldn’t wake up until 5pm.
“Most days she is smiling and happy but every night the problems start.
“She has hypothermic episodes where her heart rate slows and her temperature goes below normal body temperature.
“Her kidneys start to shut down.
“The doctors say that the problem is that the signal from her brain for her heart to beat isn’t working, and we asked what we could do if she suffers an episode at home, whether we should perform CPR.
“They said there is nothing more they can do for her and we have to comfort her and be there for her so she can pass away in familiar surroundings in the comfort of people she loves.”
Cora is an only child, and a hysterectomy has left 27-year-old Amy, who also suffers from a range of complex medical conditions, unable to have more children of her own.
“Cora could pass away at any time,” her heartbroken mum revealed.
“Every time she goes to sleep we pray she will wake up again.
“It could happen in less than a week, it could be longer, the doctors don’t know.”
The family now hope that Cora will survive long enough to attend Little Mix’s concert at the SSE Arena next month.
“We are praying that we get there,” Amy continued.
“We’re very conscious of the fact that things are getting bad, we can’t go on days out and Cora is not getting up until the afternoon.
“We would crumble if we stopped and thought about it a lot.
“We have got disabled tickets for the front row of the Little Mix concert in April so that is our goal now.”
Family friend Antoinette Boden said she has emailed Modest Management to attempt to arrange a meeting, but has so far had no response.
“The petition has attracted 1,000 signatures in just two days,” Antoinette told the Times.
“I want Cora to have as many positive experiences and magical moments with her family as possible while she still can.
“I was able to help organise a magical Disney Princess-themed Christmas for Cora this year through donations from my friends and family and I have also sent Cora a gift through my own personally-funded initiative, a Special Delivery for a Special Someone.
“I am now calling for as many people as possible to sign the petition to help encourage Little Mix to meet with Cora.”
The Times has contacted Modest Management and Aiken Promotions over Amy’s desire to meet Little Mix, and is awaiting a response.
Cora’s mum Amy told the Times that after meeting Little Mix, the family’s biggest goal is for Cora to survive long enough to celebrate her eighth birthday on August 3.
“We want to throw her a massive party with Disney princesses, especially Snow White, who is her favourite princess,” Amy revealed.
“Cora’s nickname is Princess Cora and it would be a princess-themed tea party with all the princesses there.
“We are also hoping to take Cora for a pamper spa day or hot tub party as she suffers from extreme muscle spasms due to her dystonia and the water is the only thing which helps to relax her muscles.”
If anyone can help Cora fulfil her wish list, please contact Amy on 028 2888 5921 or 07510364528.
To sign the petition, visit the ‘Help Grant Cora’s Wish to meet Little Mix’ page on Change.org.