Grandad Eamon helps cause very close to his heart
BROADCASTER Eamon Dunphy is making a special plea for more funding for a hospital where his grandson is receiving treatment.
Five-year-old Braiden Dunphy, who was born with a heart condition, will undergo surgery at Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Dublin later this year.
Yesterday, his grandad Eamon (64) appealed for more money for the Crumlin hospital as he launched the annual fundraising Windmill Campaign in aid of Heart Children Ireland, a voluntary group which cares for youngsters with congenital heart defects.
"It's the main children's hospital in the country but they're closing wards which I think is shocking. They do fantastic work yet they don't have the money. I've been there and seen the work they do and it's fantastic," said Dunphy.
Describing Braiden as a "lovely, happy boy who goes to school", the writer and pundit spoke about how his family coped with Braiden's condition, hypoplastic left heart syndrome, also known as HLHS.
It is a rare congenital heart defect in which the left side of the heart is severely underdeveloped.
"We found out Braiden had the problem after he was born. It's a problem but every family has their problems which they have to deal with and we're no different from anyone else," said Dunphy.
Braiden's mother, Eamon's daughter Colette, described how her son was affected by the condition.
"Now he is in school it is becoming a bit of an issue because there are certain things he is not able to do," she said
The 29-year-old, who is pregnant with her second child, said she hoped an operation in Crumlin would improve Braiden's quality of life. However, the planned procedure has been delayed on several occasions.
"The operation was due to take place six months ago but it wasn't postponed because of cuts. When they went to do the surgery, they found out there was an issue between Braiden's liver and heart," she said.
Miriam O'Callaghan, who works as an ambassador for Heart Children Ireland, also lent her support to the Windmill Campaign at yesterday's launch in RTE. "I'm lucky enough to have eight healthy kids but this condition could so easily have affected any of my children. So I will do anything to help," she said.
The fundraising drive, which takes place this weekend, asks the public to buy children's red windmills for €2 in outlets nationwide.