Spina Bifida literally means split spine and is a birth defect involving damage to the spine and nervous system, often resulting in paralysis of the legs. Hydrocephalus, known as water on the brain, means that there is a blockage of the free flow of fluid around the brain, requiring a valve to be inserted into the head to overcome this blockage. 85% of those with Spina Bifida also have Hydrocephalus.
Spina Bifida affects about one in every 1000 children born per year in Ireland. For reasons yet unknown, Ireland has the highest incidences of Spina Bifida in the world! Even in America, the highest rate of Spina Bifida occurs amongst those of Celtic descent.
The Mid West Spina Bifida Association is a voluntary organisation run by parents and friends of people in County Limerick, Clare, and northern Tipperary who live with one or both of these conditions. We currently provide services to 112 families. Our members range in age from newborn to adults.
Our services are FREE OF CHARGE and include physiotherapy (including assessment and intervention), orthotics, counseling for members and family, special bikes and equipment, swimming, paid expenses to families attending clinics in Dublin, parental support, social activities, and respite.
The Limerick Branch of the Irish Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus came into being on October 26th, 1968. In the early 80’s, the Mid Western Association was formed, completely independent from the National Association. As we are a completely independent charity, every cent we raise goes directly towards services. As we do not receive any funds from any national association and are 35% funded by the HSE, we must rely heavily on fundraising to continue to provide much needed services.
Our Association was established for the care, welfare, interest, treatment, education, advancement and rehabilitation of persons born with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus in Ireland.
Our mission is to encourage and support an enhanced quality of life for members, parents, families and carers, striving for a brighter future.
Our membership demographic
The biggest strength of the association continues to be its members and volunteers. Our members have a wealth of knowledge and experience which is invaluable to the Association and its future development.
The association continues to evolve and is now an active body where paid and voluntary staff work together to support its members as proactively and effectively as possible.