Selkirk parents fundraise for daughter to receive specialist treatment in America

A family from the Scottish Borders is raising money for their two-year-old daughter, who has a range of health issues, to receive specialist treatment in the US.

When she was born, Thea Hay's brain was starved of oxygen which caused severe brain damage. She was diagnosed with Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE).

Her parents, Kasey and Jack who are from Selkirk, were told she wouldn't survive, but every day she continues to defy the odds.

Mum, Kasey Watson, said:"We were told to make funeral arrangements, and things, so we weren't really given a survival rate or anything, we were just told to expect the worst really."

Thea was born with Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy. Credit: Family photo

It's been a challenging two years for Thea. She lives with epilepsy, and muscle spasms which cause her pain daily, and though it hasn't been confirmed yet it is expected she'll be diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

Kasey told ITV Border: "It's really upsetting because when she is sore she can be really upset. She's not like another two-year-old; she cant run about or crawl or have a conversation, but she can sit, play and interact.

"We find you go through stages. You either have loads of hope or something happens and you're deflated and knocked back. It has been really difficult, but just with her personality she makes it a lot easier."

Credit: ITV News

They are now trying to raise £25,000 to take Thea to a state of the art rehabilitation centre in Los Angeles. They believe the work done there will really help her thrive.

Kasey said: "They offer speech, physiotherapy, occupational therapy. They have other different specialist therapies as well. So they will assess Thea and just see what's best suited for her while she's there so she can get the best out of it.

"We're hoping that going there, maybe, she'll get more mobile, be able to explore her own environment a bit more, possibly help her speech, but, yeah, we're just hoping for the best.

It's believed the therapy will give Thea the best chances of an independent life. Her parents say she's got the spirit and determination to do more for herself, she just needs that extra little push.

We spoke to Sarah Land, the founder of the charity Peeps, which supports people affected by HIE, also known as birth asphyxia.