Touching moment: 3-year-old girl meets her Disney heroes before she loses her sight
Caoimhe Burns suffers from a genetic condition optic neuropathy and has already lost sight in her right eye, the youngster was paid a special visit from Mickey and Minnie Mouse at her Kircubbin home
This is the touching moment a little girl from Northern Ireland was introduced to her Disney heroes before she loses her sight for good.
Caoimhe Burns, aged three, suffers from a genetic condition optic neuropathy and has already lost sight in her right eye. Now the tot's family are on a mission to raise funds to send her to Disneyland Paris before she goes completely blind.
Already more than £4,900 has been raised and on Sunday the youngster was paid a special visit from Mickey and Minnie Mouse at her Kircubbin home.
Speaking to Belfast Live , mum Deirdre said the family were overwhelmed by the support and eager to give Caoimhe the very best before she loses her sight.
"She was diagnosed in January with the condition optic neuropathy, it is a genetic condition which means that the optic nerve is not working properly or at all," said the mum-of-three."It is a condition that deteriorates over time.
She has been wearing glasses since was she young and we were going for routine check-ups but her glasses were getting stronger and stronger.
"Doctors decided to use a patch on Caoimhe's right eye in a bid to strengthen her left eye which was worse towards the end of last year.
But after eight weeks of wearing the patch, her family were dealt the devastating blow that Caoimhe had no sight in her right eye.
Further to that, the youngster only has 30% vision in her left eye and doctors do not know when she will lose her sight completely."They think it's this condition which means her sight will deteriorate over time but they can not give us a time scale," said Deirdre, who moved from Omagh to Kircubbin recently.
"The fact that her sight deteriorated so quickly in eight weeks it made me think I need to do everything I can so she sees and experiences all she should before she loses her sight."I want to take her on days out and to see the animals, she's mad about animals.
"I just want to do things I know she likes but obviously when you see her doing things she need her sight for it hits home."She loves her arts and crafts.
She doesn't really understand it, it has been deteriorating gradually since she was born.
The family are now hoping to make Caoimhe's dreams come true by taking her to Disneyland Paris at the beginning of March after smashing their fundraising target.
"We have enough to go to Disney now and any money raised after that will go towards any equipment she needs or towards her care or adapting the house because as her sight deteriorates there will be changes we will need to make," she said.
"We are working with the RNIB and Blind Children UK and discussing with them what she might need, but at the moment we do not know.
"It's very hard to estimate what she might need in the future, it's best to have a fund there to provide for things like that when they come up.Deirdre said she was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from the community, especially in Kircubbin as the family have only moved to the area.
"To have the support from the local community is fantastic," she said."I have had a lady in Bangor who said she wanted to organise a fundraiser and she was doing it at the beginning of March. She is doing it single-handed all just because she wants to help Caoimhe.
"She had never met us before but it's thing like that, people just coming forward and saying they want to help, it is brilliant.
"We have had big donations from strangers saying they had read about us and wanted to send a cheque. It is really lovely to see that people want to help, strangers not just friends and family.
"A lot of friends back in Omagh have been fundraising too and down in Cork where my brother lives."Deirdre said she was very proud of her daughter who she described as "feisty and independent".
"She has an older brother Lorcan, 13, and sister Cara, nine, and she bosses them about, they are very good with her," she added.On Sunday, Caoimhe got a taste of what to expect at Disneyland when Mickey and Minnie Mouse paid her a special visit.
"She loves Disney and is mad about Frozen and loves Mickey and Minnie Mouse too," said Deirdre."I was contacted by a company in Armagh who said they would like to bring Mickey and Minnie to the house, it was brilliant.