Family raising vital funds for their little girl’s life changing treatment 

Padraig Conlon 08 Feb 2023

A LOCAL family are currently raising vital funds so their ‘miracle’ baby can receive a life changing operation.

Tina Joan ‘TJ’ Needham was born to parents Claire McDaid and Jay Needham on October 7, 2020.

At Claire’s 30-week scan the couple received the devastating news that their daughter TJ would never be able to live a normal life.

“When I went to my 30 week scan they told me that her head was swollen, and that they didn’t see any life inside her brain, that she was a very sick baby, that there was no hope for her,” Claire tells Northside People.

The couple were told their unborn daughter would have no quality of and there was no sign of her spine on the scan.

Claire was told her best option would be to go to England to abort her precious baby.

However, despite hearing the prognosis, Claire decided not to give up on her baby and continued her pregnancy in the hope that everything would be alright.

T.J. was born with spina bifida, a condition where a baby’s spine and spinal cord fail to develop in the womb which causes a gap in the spine.

TJ’s condition has affected her mobility due to a loss of sensation and movement in her lower body.

Initially, doctors told Claire and Jay that TJ wouldn’t be able to even move her legs but now she can swing them around.

However, to improve her quality of life, and be able to walk, T.J requires the very best physiotherapy.

Unfortunately, here in Ireland, these types of treatments are around 10-20 years behind.

Claire and Jay, who live in Stonybatter, have looked for treatments abroad, which they have found in Hungary and the USA.

TJ has been accepted for treatment in the Peto Institute in Budapest, but the treatment, as well as the special equipment, and additional costs, comes to a total of around €100,000.

TJ’s family have partnered with the Dublin GAA Fans Facebook page who have got their hands on a signed jersey for a live draw on St Patrick’s Day to raise funds for TJ’s physio treatment in Hungary.

“TJ is doing really well and is even crawling on the floor,” Claire said.

“She’s doing so well, she’s so determined.

“She’s trying to get up to crawl and all, so once she has her operation and goes to Budapest she will walk to some extent.

She’ll definitely walk with the walker or she could surprise us all, but to get to that level, the costs of everything has gone up. It’s just a stressful time.”

Any readers who would like to donate to TJ’s GoFundMe please go to

To enter the draw for the Dubs jersey please go to

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