Liam leads way as little fighters honoured
Published 28/11/2011 | 05:00
HE'S only three but already Liam Heffernan has had to endure more in his short life than most people will in a lifetime.
In the space of a year the little boy has faced serious illness, brain surgery and the loss of his only sibling.
Liam's courage in the face of adversity was recognised at a national awards ceremony presented by RTE's Miriam O'Callaghan and Will Leahy.
The plucky youngster, from Castledrum, Keel, Co Kerry, was the youngest of eight children who were honoured for their bravery at the Share a Dream Foundation's National Children of Courage Awards at the Radisson Blu in Limerick at the weekend.
Liam and the other award winners, Aishlinn Roisin Quaid (4), from Limerick; Kate Crowley (4), from Dunkettle, Cork; Nicola O'Leary (7), from Clarina, Co Limerick; Brooklyn Kerley (8), from Dundalk; Jason Lorrigan (7), from Kildysart, Co Clare; Matthew Flynn (7), from Headford, Co Galway; and Aaron Redmond (6), from Naas, Co Kildare, will enjoy the holiday of a lifetime to Disneyland Paris in December.
All eight have suffered serious life-threatening illnesses but will enjoy a well-earned break with their parents on December 6.
The Heffernans now face an anxious wait for news from the US on how Liam is doing following his surgery.
The little boy suffers from Batten Disease -- a rare and fatal condition that claimed the life of his sister Saoirse in January -- and underwent pioneering brain surgery in New York in May.
"Physically he seems to be doing very well but if we get a picture of a full, living brain, that's progress," said dad Tony.
Share a Dream founder Shay Kinsella said it was very humbling to see just how brave all eight children were, despite all that has happened in their lives.
"It's the greatest feeling in the world knowing you creat-ed a smile and brought a little bit of magic into the lives of very sick and disabled child-ren by making their fondest wish come true," he said.