Star Wars fans from across Ireland have rallied round a young girl from Ballyduff whose family are raising money for a new wheelchair.
Natascha Macinarlin (7) has a rare form of dwarfism, Spondyloepiphyseal Dysplasia with joint laxity.
The condition has impacted on Natascha’s growth and she has undergone a number of operations on her legs and hip.
The brave girl is currently being assessed ahead of a possible trip to the United States for an operation to straighten her legs.
Members of Star Wars/movie costuming club, The Emerald Garrison, teamed up with Echo Base Vintage Star Wars collectors to help raise funds for a new wheelchair for Natascha at an event at the Abbey Centre on Sunday, February 18.
The Emerald Garrison members dressed as characters from Star Wars and other movies to collect donations in the shopping centre, while the vintage collectors conducted raffles and other fundraising initiatives.
It is estimated the new motorised chair will cost in the region of £15,000
Following the Newtownabbey event, The Emerald Garrison and Echo Base Vintage Star Wars collectors had collected an incredible £5,000 for the fundraising appeal.
Speaking to the Times, Simon Aldworth (Emerald Garrison), said: “When I heard about Natascha’s condition I decided I had to help as this is what the Emerald Garrison is all about, helping those in need.
“We had 22 Emerald Garrison members with us at the Abbey Centre and we were swamped the whole time we were there.
“The kids and the big kids loved us. People were constantly taking photos and selfies with us. Members of the public came from all over Northern Ireland to see us after the centre had advertised us on their Facebook page.”
A similar fundraising event is set to take place on Sunday, March 25 at the Kennedy Centre in Belfast for Natascha, who moved from Ballyduff to Bangor last year.