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Sunday 20 August 2017

Olympic champ tickled pink to give sick children a fighting chance

Gold medalist Katie Taylor at the return of the Irish Olympic team to Ireland at Dublin airport
Gold medalist Katie Taylor at the return of the Irish Olympic team to Ireland at Dublin airport
15 August 2012; Team Ireland boxing gold medallist Katie Taylor during a Team Ireland London 2012 Olympic Games Public Reception. Dawson Street, Dublin. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
Jack McGuirk (9) from Swords, who is undergoing treatment in St Johns Ward in Crumlin Childrens Hospital receiving an Aoibheanns Pink Tie (APT) Gold Medal from Olympic Gold Medalist Boxer Katie Taylor
Amy Spratt (7) gets a kiss from Olympic gold medallist Katie Taylor

Elaine Keogh and Nicola Anderson

THEY have one thing in common – and that's a fighting spirit.

Olympic boxer Katie Taylor has given her support to charity 'Aoibheann's Pink Tie', which helps the families of children battling cancer.

The charity was set up by Jimmy and Anne Marie Norman, who lost their daughter Aoibheann (8) to cancer two years ago.

The Olympic champion met some of the children and their families receiving treatment from Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin at a special Pink Tie event in Dunboyne, Co Meath.

"This is a brilliant cause. They are helping the families, as well as the kids with cancer," she said.

"I think sometimes the families can be forgotten about. When the children have cancer their families are affected as well."

The delighted gold medal boxer said it was "a pleasure" for her to be here "in the middle of all these amazing kids".

She was presented with a special supersize pink tie by Amy Spratt (7), from Ashbourne, Co Meath – who has just completed chemotherapy.

"To speak to another parent who has been through what we are going through means so much. You know you are not on your own," said Amy's mum Carol.

And there was more Christmas magic in the air when another group of children from Our Lady's Hospital took to the skies on board the Santa Express.

With their special boarding passes clearly marked 'The North Pole' – 30 children aged between three and 10, along with parents, Clown Doctors and hospital staff paid a very important trip to the man in red.

They were singing 'Jingle Bells' from the moment they stepped on board the Aer Lingus Regional Santa Express operated by Aer Arann and continued until they landed at London Southend Airport.

They met up with Santa as he prepared his sleigh and gifts to deliver to Ireland this Christmas.

This VIP group received a special garda escort from the hospital to Dublin Airport and the children were accompanied by Santa's elves on the flight.

A festively festooned double decker bus was waiting to whisk them off to the Southend seafront where they had some frosty ice-cream.

They then took the train up the world's longest pleasure pier to visit the new cultural centre where Santa awaited.

This is the 12th year that airline staff have organised a festive day out for a group of young patients along with their parents, siblings and carers.

Irish Independent

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