June 6th, 2012

The Kerryman Article By Donal Nolan

 

TOUCHING STORY GIVES GLIMPSE INTO CHLOE'S LIFE WITH SPINA BIFIDA

FOR the parents of little Chloe O'Sullivan, 'The Fairy Who Was Different' was something of an emotional wrench when they read its touching tale about a fairy with a clipped wing.

The resonance was deep, for its young author Chloe - who is only six years of age - has spina bifida and requires a splint on her leg for mobility.

Launched at Woulfe's Bookshop on the Friday of Writers' Week, the story of 'The Fairy Who Was Different' touched the hearts of everyone present.

Despite suffering from spina bifida, Chloe from Farranfore is a picture of vibrant mental and physical energy and her mobility today is thanks largely to the work of Enable Ireland - who printed the book and to whom all the proceeds will go.

"It was heart-wrenching when we read it as the story obviously resonates deeply with Chloe's story and the book really helped her make sense of her condition," mom Elaine explained.

"Chloe was questioned about her spina bifida by her friends when she started school and then she started asking us questions about it and my husband Con said he'd love to explain it more. It was clear she was thinking of herself as the fairy in the story I think and that's why it tugged on the heartstrings so much:' Elaine added.

Amazingly, the six year old wrote at least 98 per cent of the book herself with just a little help from dad. "I found her taking sheets out of the printer and stapling them together and when I asked her what she was doing she said 'making a book;" Con explained.

Together they set about the writing of it, taking about a month to complete the project. But did the debut writer enjoy the process? "I really enjoyed it. The fairy is the hero of it and she has a clipped wing and made friends with all the bees:' Is there a happy ending though? "She wished for a prince, a fairy prince, and he came and they got married!"

It was a dream come "true also for the Knockaderry National School pupil at the launch on Friday, as she was the centre or attention, surrounded by her parents, proud brother Conor (10), her five classmates and a brand-new fan base.

© The Kerryman