Mother appeals to community for support

By INÊS LOPES [email protected]

A Portuguese mother of a 22-month-old toddler with cerebral palsy has made a desperate appeal to the foreign community in the Algarve for help with fundraising to pay the various treatments.

Marcos Fanico was born prematurely at the Barlavento Hospital in Portimão on January 29, 2010 and soon after had to be taken by helicopter to Santa Maria Hospital in Lisbon due to a diagnosis of perinatal asphyxia, which resulted in a hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, commonly known as cerebral palsy.

His mother Carla Caixinha, who lives in Portimão with her family, contacted the Algarve Resident after reading an article in the newspaper about her friend Sónia Granadeiro, whose child Tatiana Araújo suffers from the same condition and is currently being helped by local resident Jenny Grainer through her Grand Night of Variety Show to take place in Lagoa on November 5.

Carla Caixinha told the Algarve Resident: “I became friends with Sónia after Marcos started physiotherapy with Tatiana’s therapist at Barlavento Hospital.”

Full time mom

Carla’s life has changed from day to night since her son was born. She had to give up her job as a receptionist in a tourist resort in Carvoeiro to be with her son full time.

But she hasn’t looked back once for her determination to provide Marcos with a more independent and dignified life has become her lifelong goal.

“Due to the birth complications, Marcos had to receive induced hypothermia, a treatment to minimise the cerebral lesions that resulted from the asphyxia. He was the first baby in Portugal to receive this treatment, but regrettably it wasn’t very successful,” she said.

Since then, Carla has been working with the Associação Portuguesa de Paralisia Cerebral de Faro (APPC), a Social Security support association for cerebral palsy patients and their families.

She is now awaiting different types of equipment, such as an adapted wheelchair, a specialist feeding chair and a standing frame, that Marcos urgently needs.

However, she said: “I will have to wait a bit longer for these, as we simply do not have the financial means to support the costs of buying these expensive aids.”

As well as the equipment that would provide Marcos with a better quality of life, Carla is also keen that he starts a new growth hormone treatment recommended by his doctors at a clinic in Santiago de Compostela in the north of Spain.

Carla said: “The treatment will last for three months in order to assess Marcos’ response to them. I have no idea how much the treatment will cost. I desperately need funds to help Marcos have a better life.”

Facebook pages have been created by the family and friends, with information on how people can donate funds for Marcos’ cause.

Go to Facebook and search ‘Marcos Fanico’ or ‘Sou o Marcos de Portimão e preciso de ajuda’. Alternatively, please call Carla Caixinha, who is fluent in English, on 915 383 547 or 962 468 636 if you are interested in organising a fundraising event for Marcos.