The mother of a seriously-ill girl from Carnlough has described the amazing moment her daughter met her favourite group at their concert in Belfast.
Brave Cora McQuade-Denvir, who is just seven-years-old, met her idols, Little Mix, before their gig at the SSE Arena on Tuesday night (April 19).
Speaking to the Times, Amy McQuade-Denvir said: “When Cora met Little Mix, she isn’t self-aware, so she wasn’t fully aware of what was happening at the start. When she heard their English accents, she turned her head right round and smiled at them, which was very good for her to do. This was magical and I could tell that she knew something was going on. She was smiling and let out a wee giggle and she was just so happy.
“The girls were just so down to earth and they were so pleasant and thoughtful. They said how gorgeous Cora was, how beautiful her hair was and that she looked like a real life princess. They also said that they loved her tutu that she had got specially made and wished that they had one too.”
Cora was born prematurely with a host of illnesses.
After doctors told her parents Amy and Ciaran that Cora’s condition was deteriorating, family friend Antoinette Boden set up a petition to encourage Little Mix’s management company Modest Management to let Cora meet her idols when they came to Belfast for the concert.
Amy said: “Cora was born at just 28 weeks with 80 per cent of her brain tissue missing, so her brain has had to rewire as it doesn’t have the parts that let her move, breathe or communicate.
“She suffers from incurable epilepsy, dystonia, cerebral palsy, hydrocephaly with a shunt, she has a peg to enable her to be fed via a tube, she is completely blind, has scoliosis and has no communication skills.
“She can’t walk or talk or even sit up or hold up her head, but she loves music and her favourite band is Little Mix. When their music comes on she squeals and giggles, which she shouldn’t even be physically capable of doing, and she relaxes. She listens to Little Mix on a loop, it is never off in our house!”
Cora has battled with two serious chest infections over the past month and at times her family feared that she was not going to pull through.
Amy added: “I was a bit worried that the concert might be a bit much for her because she was at the front and I wasn’t sure how she was going to react. Sometimes she can be really jumpy. However, she wasn’t at all. The reaction she had at the concert nearly reduced me to tears. I wasn’t expecting her to have such a good reaction and be so happy.
“Cora is usually very sleepy in the evenings, but on Tuesday night she was just so bright and bubbly. When she heard songs that she recognised, she looked so happy. It was just overwhelming for me as her mum to see her reaction. It just made us all so proud of her and we’re really glad we made the decision to go to the concert.”
The family would like to thank Antoinette Boden for setting up the petition and Jurys Inn in Belfast for donating the room for them to stay in with all of their food included.