Brave terminally ill Carnlough girl Cora McQuade-Denvir has defied doctors’ expectations to celebrate her eighth birthday.
Little Cora, who is confined to a wheelchair, suffers from a host of ailments including epilepsy, dystonia, cerebral palsy, hydrocephaly, blindness, and scoliosis.
In November 2015, doctors told Cora’s parents that she was experiencing brain failure and could pass away at any time.
However, Cora, who the family refer to as their “princess warrior,” defied doctors to enjoy a glittering princess-themed party at the Londonderry Arms Hotel yesterday (August 3).
Attended by Disney princesses Snow White, Elsa, Ariel and Jasmine, Cora lit up the room in her sparkling pink princess outfit.
Her mum Amy, who dressed as Belle from Beauty and the Beast for the special occasion, told the Times: “This is magical, I never thought this would happen, she has made it to her birthday. She is our princess warrior, a fighter.
“We take strength from her and she makes us want to create magical memories and not let a day go to waste.”
Her Dad Ciaran, dressed as Prince Charming, added: “A couple of months ago we didn’t think she would get here.
“We know she is enjoying herself as she is smiling, kicking her feet and moving her arms and she has heard the princesses singing, which is making her smile even more. She likes to have a buzz around her.”
After Cora’s condition worsened, the family appealed for the community’s help in fulfilling a “bucket list” of memorable experiences with their daughter.
Thanks to local support, most of her wishes have been fulfilled, and local firms and individuals also worked for free to help make Cora’s princess party a reality.
“Cora seems to touch a lot of people and the community has really rallied round us, which means a lot as we have needed their support,” Ciaran said.
“We would like to thank everyone who has helped fulfil Cora’s wishes.”
Co-owner of Loc-down Events Leeann McCabe, in costume as Princess Elsa, said that the princesses from her company had built up a special relationship with Cora.
“We are here to show solidarity between princesses,” said Leeann.
“Cora is the true princess, every day she shows bravery and courage so she is a princess inside and out. She puts us to shame.
“We first heard about Cora online and then we did a special day for her at Christmas.
“Since then we have been sending her messages online and we have developed a personal relationship with the family”.
Cora’s parents have now set a new goal based on their daughter’s fighting spirit.
“We hope that Cora will still be here for Christmas,” Amy revealed.
“Last November the doctors told us to enjoy Christmas 2015 as it would be the last one we would have with Cora. But she has made it to her birthday and now we hope to get her to Christmas 2016 and beyond!”