Bingo fans’ laptop boost for Monique

A dundee schoolgirl due to have a life-changing operation will be surfing the world wide web from her hospital bed, thanks to some bingo players.

Monique Murphy (9), who has a rare form of dwarfism, is due to have a nine-hour operation in September in an attempt to straighten bones in her leg.

Three surgeons will perform the operation at Ninewells Hospital and Monique will have to remain in a body brace and a specially made wheelchair for up to five months while she recovers.

In an attempt to make her stay in hospital more pleasant, residents at the Clyde Place sheltered housing complex, Tummel Place, raised more than £500 to buy her a laptop computer.

Tenants at the housing complex raised the cash during a charity bingo evening on Tuesday night.

Monique’s aunt Angela Stephen, who works with the Dundee City Council social work crisis team, said her family are grateful for the donation.

“Monique will have to wear a body brace and a cast for a long time after the operation, so a laptop or electrical equipment will really help her,” she said.

“The residents at Clyde have done an amazing job—this will mean so much to her. Some of the people raising money are themselves in wheelchairs or find it difficult to get out, and they were all there to help Monique.”

“When she (Monique) walks at the moment she tends to go to one side, and it can cause her a lot of discomfort and pain in her legs—hopefully this operation will go some way to help ease that,” she said.

“She is such a positive wee girl, she doesn’t let anything bother her and participates in everything; she is always trying new things—she especially loves music and dancing.”

She continued, “We would really like to thank the tenants at the bingo night and also Jean Ferguson and John Wells who are wardens at the complex. They have done a fantastic job and they organised everything.”

Ms Ferguson, senior warden at the complex, said the residents were delighted to help Monique.

“Monique is just a lovely little girl, and so is her little sister Maddison.

“They are gorgeous little girls, and when we heard about Monique’s operation we wanted to raise the money to help get her something for after it. We loved doing it.”

Monique, who dreams of being an artist, summed up her own feelings about the donation, when she exclaimed, “It’s the best!”

This operation is not the first challenge Monique has faced in her young life—she was misdiagnosed with a fatal illness at birth.

Her mum Vicki was told that the little girl, who was born in London three months premature and weighing just 2lbs 5oz, was suffering from a fatal chromosome disorder and that she would not survive.

Doctors advised the devastated family to switch off her life support machine and relatives gathered at the side of her incubator to say a final farewell, while the infant was given the last rites.

However, trusting her own intuition, Monique’s mum, who now lives in the Linlathen area of the city with her daughters, demanded a second series of tests, following which it was revealed doctors had misdiagnosed Monique’s condition.

She was eventually correctly diagnosed with the rare spondyloepimetaphyseal syndrome, Strudwick type, when she was two.

This condition is an inherited disorder of bone growth that results in short stature, skeletal abnormalities, and problems with vision.

© All copyright D C Thomson & Co Ltd., 2009