Pics: ‘Tractor Girls’ bare all in calendar for brave Billy
A dozen local women in Co. Tipperary have posed for a tractor calendar in aid of a young boy, Billy Goulding, who suffers from a rare condition that has left him paralysed from the neck down.
Calling themselves the ‘Tractor Girls’, the group decided to strip off and pose with various tractors to raise funds for Billy, who is five-years-old.
When Billy was two and a half, he collapsed at home while playing with his sister.
After being rushed to Temple Street Children’s Hospital, it transpired that the boy had contracted an inflammation of the spinal cord called Transverse Myelitis. This left him paralysed from the neck down.
Billy spent a full year in Temple Street Children’s Hospital before he was allowed to return home.
According to Billy’s parents, Victor and Eileen, the National Rehabilitation of Ireland informed them that they could not facilitate Billy – because he is on a breathing machine at night and he also has a tracheostomy tube to help him breathe.
Instead, it was recommended that Billy be brought to Stoke Mandeville Hospital in north London for rehabilitation.
Billy is now brought to England twice a year, and will be brought to London for his next visit this Monday (December 4) for two weeks in the hope of rehabilitation resulting in some movement.
Billy’s parents have said: “Currently we have to pay privately for physio, and Billy works really hard to do what he can. We need to get Billy to a place where he has a quality of life for himself. For us, even for one hand to work would be our lotto for our little man.”
In order to fund this expensive treatment, Billy’s family has set up a gofundme page, and has set a goal of €50,000, which will be used to make Billy’s home more accessible for him as he grows older and his equipment gets bigger.
The family also hope to build an extension onto their home, which will incorporate a therapy room for Billy where his treatment, physio and reflexology can all be carried out.
For those interested, calendars can be ordered – at a cost of €15 – through the Facebook page Billy’s Recovery Story or by contacting Mary on: 087-2265937.
Speaking to AgriLand, Billy’s mum Eileen said that the young boy is “tractor-mad”.
He is wrapped up in blankets, scarves and has his hat on; we just spent the last half an hour out in the cold in the yard watching a tractor cut hedges. He didn’t want to come in at all.
“He is a really happy going fella,” she added.
Eileen explained that the idea for the calendar was hers and that it didn’t take long for people to get on board.
Her husband managed to source a few tractors and trailers to park on the lawn in order for the photo shoot to take place.
The photos for the calendar were captured by local photographer Tom Doherty.
While Billy has made slight improvements during his treatment – he is now able to lift his left arm a little bit – there is still a long recovery journey ahead, Eileen said.
It is hoped that this month will see significant interest in the calendars ahead of 2018, with the funds going towards Billy’s recovery.