Borders parents seek treatment in USA for daughter Thea

A BORDERS couple are trying to raise £25,000 so they can take their young daughter for treatment in America.

Selkirk parents Kasey Watson and Jack Hay hope to take their daughter, Thea, to a facility in Los Angeles.

Thea, aged two, was born with Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE), a condition caused by a complication at birth which limited oxygen to the brain, causing brain damage.

When her daughter was born, Miss Watson, 22, was unable to hold Thea for five days, and she and Mr Hay were advised to make plans for Thea’s funeral.

“We were sat down to talk about a funeral, and we couldn’t do it because she [Thea] just kept proving them [doctors] wrong,” Mr Hay, 23, said.

Although Thea defied the odds, her condition leaves her with dystonia (muscle spasms), and she could be diagnosed with cerebral palsy in the future.

But in the face of all that, Thea is a happy, smiling two-year-old, who – like many – is not a fan of mornings.

Border Telegraph: Thea, from Selkirk, has made her parents 'really proud'. Photo: Helen BarringtonThea, from Selkirk, has made her parents ‘really proud’. Photo: Helen Barrington

“Day to day it’s different,” said Miss Watson. “She depends on us a lot.

“She’s making a lot of progress – slowly but surely.

“To see how far she’s come makes us really proud.”

The couple hope to take their daughter to a specialist facility, the Neurological and Physical Abilitation centre [NAPA], in Los Angeles, USA, where she will receive ‘intensive’ treatment tailored to her needs.

Miss Watson added that the treatment Thea would receive in America would greatly improve her quality of life.

She said: “We really want Thea to have the best quality of life.”

Mr Hay added: “We’re very certain that NAPA will help change her life.”

But in order to get this specialist treatment, Thea’s parents are hoping to raise £25,000 to cover the cost of the month-long treatment, transport and accommodation, as well as any future surgeries which may not be covered by the NHS.

And the couple have expressed their thanks for the support they’ve received.

“To ask strangers to help is hard,” Miss Watson said. “People who aren’t even close to us have come together to help.

“It’s more than we imagined – we didn’t expect it.”

The fundraiser, which was launched three weeks ago, has already raised more than £3,500 (including Gift Aid) of its £25,000 total.

“The support we’ve had has been amazing so far,” Mr Hay added.

As part of their fundraising efforts, the couple have a series of events planned to help reach their goal.

They will host a men’s leg waxing event, online tombolas and then in May 2021 they hope to climb Ben Nevis.

Miss Watson also hopes that through their fundraising they can raise awareness of HIE.

“I hope this can spread awareness of what can happen in birth,” she said.

“It could happen to anyone. Things happen that you don’t expect.”

To make a donation, visit this web page dedicated to Thea, the “smiling warrior”.

Border Telegraph | News