Tuesday 27 September 2016

Big-hearted Christy Dignam gives up chance to play with Bono and the boys for special charity gig

Elaine Keogh

Published 30/11/2015 | 07:23

Big-hearted Aslan singer Christy Dignam turned down an opportunity to join U2 on stage so that he could play a fundraising gig for three brothers with a rare genetic illness.

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"If Bono was in my shoes he would have done the same thing," said Christy on his decision to turn down the invitation to sing with the rock superstars at their 3Arena concert on Friday.

Christy, who is battling cancer, said he could not let the Barrett family down.

Brandon (15), Keane (13) and Kallum (10) Barrett, from Drogheda, suffer from a condition called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and face a lifetime of medical bills.

File Pic taken in May 2015. Pictured left to right are brothers Keane (13), Kallum (10) and Brandon (15) Barrett from Drogheda. All three boys have a rare genetic syndrome called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) which effects all the connective tissue in their body including joints, ligaments and internal organs. On Friday Christy Dignam and Joe Jewell played a fundraising gig in aid of the Barrett boys even though they had been invited to play with U2 at the 3Arena. The boys parents Mary and Ian will be forever grateful to Christy and Joe. Picture Ciara Wilkinson.
File Pic taken in May 2015. Pictured left to right are brothers Keane (13), Kallum (10) and Brandon (15) Barrett from Drogheda. All three boys have a rare genetic syndrome called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) which effects all the connective tissue in their body including joints, ligaments and internal organs. On Friday Christy Dignam and Joe Jewell played a fundraising gig in aid of the Barrett boys even though they had been invited to play with U2 at the 3Arena. The boys parents Mary and Ian will be forever grateful to Christy and Joe. Picture Ciara Wilkinson.

The syndrome effects all connective tissue in the body including joints, ligaments and internal organs.

Despite there being no outwardly visible signs of the disease, the boys are in constant pain and can dislocate their joints very easily.

It is related to faulty collagen, which acts like a glue in the body.

Their parents Mary and Ian are constantly fundraising to pay for expert medical care in London.

Christy and his Aslan pal and fellow musician Joe Jewell performed at a special gig for them on Friday.

"I would love to have done U2 and knew it would be a great vibe and that but I knew if I did it, all the joy of playing with U2 would be lost in the guilt of letting down the Barrett boys," Christy said of his decision.

The fundraiser at the Radisson Blu Dublin Airport Hotel was organised by his life-long friend Dermot Smyth, who works with the boy's dad Ian.

"Dermot told me all about the three boys, and I have a rare condition and know how hard it is and what he told me struck a chord with me. So when the U2 offer came in, there was no dilemma, I knew Bono would totally understand," Christy added.

The boys' mum Mary said the Aslan front man was "just brilliant" to keep his promise.

"We had no idea that U2 asked him and we were blown away by his decision to play for us."

She said her sons are equally delighted and said "the boys could not understand why somebody would give up the spotlight to be with them".

Meanwhile, Christy said that he and his wife Catherine were delighted to be invited as special guests to U2's final concert on Saturday night and "they treated us like kings".

Herald

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