I Give A Buck campaign to help Tara's recovery

TARA O’Connell will celebrate a major milestone on Tuesday.

All going to plan, it will be 12 months since the nine-year-old Mia Mia resident has suffered a seizure.

Tara's mum Cheri O’Connell said, at one point, her daughter was having at least 65 seizures a day.

"So celebrating 12-months being seizure-free is a big deal," she said.

Ms O'Connell says medical cannabis has drastically improved her daughter's life.

Ms O'Connell has labelled the controversy around the use of medicinal marijuana as "ridiculous" and said most critics were ill-informed.

"In 2012 we were told she had 12 to 24 months to live and we turned to medical cannabis because there was nothing else left to try," she said.

"Tara has dravet syndrome (a form of epilepsy) and at that point she was having at least 65 seizures a day and now she's seizure-free.

"It's just turned her life around."

Tara still needs ongoing physiotherapy and is one of the faces of the I Give a Buck children's charity which encourages people to donate just $1 to change lives.

I Give a Buck has been working with Tara's family since 2011 to raise money for essential equipment and services including vehicle modifications, a new bed, gravity chair and swimming lessons.

The charity has now launched an appeal to raise $1064 to provide Tara's family with a specialised car seat and one-on-one swimming lessons to build up strength in her legs.

The I Give a Buck Foundation asks for only $1 – a buck – from as many people as possible, believing a little from many can change a child’s life. 

"While the medical cannabis has done miracles it is an ongoing thing," Ms O'Connell said.

"If we didn't have the therapies we don't know where she'd be and twice-a-week swimming lessons are really financially out of our capabilities."

Ms O'Connell is encouraging people to dig deep for the campaign.

"Now, unless you went up and had a conversation with Tara, you wouldn't realise that she had a disability," she said.

"But unfortunately she's had a lot of damage from the seizures so she does have an intellectual disability and her motor skills are still delayed.

"But 12 months ago she rarely walked without a frame for more than 200 metres.

"She could walk unaided but about 200 metres was the limit before she started to really tire and find it really difficult whereas now it's a lot better.

"But we need to remember that developmentally her walking is a long way behind where it should be."

Tara’s appeal can be found online at www.igiveabuck.org.au 

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