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Saturday 24 June 2017

Heartwarming story as tractor rally helps get little boy get back on his feet

Tom Lynch (3) from Kilskyre, Co Meath lives with a rare condition that affects his mobility and speech
Tom Lynch (3) from Kilskyre, Co Meath lives with a rare condition that affects his mobility and speech
Claire Mc Cormack

Claire Mc Cormack

Hundreds of locals turned out for Mullinalaghta's annual tractor run with all proceeds aimed at helping a little boy get on his feet.

Three-year-old Tom Lynch (pictured right), from Kilskyre, a small village in County Meath, lives with a rare condition called hypotonia and global development delay - a low-muscle tone that reduces muscle strength.

The condition affects the little boy's upper and lower limbs, leaving him unable to walk or talk.

Tom currently attends physiotherapy in Limerick, but the family's aim is to raise enough money so they can buy the necessary machines and equipment to provide care to Tom in the family home.

Experts say that recognising hypotonia, even in early infancy, is usually relatively straightforward, but diagnosing the underlying cause can be difficult and often unsuccessful.

The long-term effects of hypotonia on a child's development and later life depend primarily on the severity of the muscle weakness and the nature of the cause.

When the people of Mullinalaghta, Co Longford - home to Tom's aunt and uncle - and neighbouring parishes heard Tom's story and his urgent need for extensive and prolonged therapy, they felt compelled to play a part.

Every year Mullinalaghta Vintage Club holds a special tractor run in aid of a worthy cause. The club, founded in 2012, is always "particularly keen" to help raise funds for children struggling with illness. In recent years they have collected more than €17,000 for national and local causes including Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin and Ronald McDonald House Charity Ireland.

"Every year we pick a worthy charity," said club secretary Shane Dermody. "Tom's aunt and uncle are well known in the area, and we wanted to help the little lad to get the support he needs and to bring in new funds from another county."

Up to 100 tractors took part in yesterday's tractor run in Mullinalaghta - who recently won the county senior football championship for the first time in 66 years.

Nikki Lynch, Tom's mother said the family are "incredibly grateful" to the Mullinalaghta Vintage Club and local communities for their kindness and support.

"It's amazing, especially when we're not even from the area. It's overwhelming to think how good people are.

"Tom is making great progress since April but to be able to take care of him at home, instead of staying in Limerick four days a week, would make a huge difference to us so hopefully in the coming months we'll get sorted," said Nikki.

Find out more on the dedicated Facebook page 'Tom's Walking Wish'.

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