Lifestyle

Thursday 28 August 2014

'Ed Sheeran sang her to sleep' - Family of Irish teen Triona grateful for final moments as her wish is granted

Triona Priestley
Ed Sheeran

School pals of Dublin teenager Triona Priestley who passed away yesterday, just minutes after receiving a phonecall from her idol Ed Sheeran, paid their respects to the 15-year-old today in school.

Hundreds of her classmates at Castleknock Community College wore the colour purple today and sang some of her favourite songs in memory of their friend.

Triona, who was seriously ill and in her final stages of battling cystic fibrosis, revealed her dying wish was to hear from her favourite singer Ed Sheeran last week.

Following her death yesterday, Triona's brother Colm thanked everyone who started and supported the #SongForTri campaign.

"Myself and my family would like to thank Ed Sheeran and everyone who started and supported the #SongForTri campaign," he told independent.ie.

"What they gave us and her was a beautiful last moment together. Triona slipped into a sleep as Ed was singing to her and passed away shortly afterwards.

"So Ed Sheeran sang her to sleep.

"We would like to thank everyone who played their part in making that happen," he said.

"We are all so proud of Triona and how she fought Cystic Fibrosis.

"Everyone loved Triona so much and she knew that. Thank you."

The family have appealed for privacy at this time.

'#SongForTri' trended on Twitter from Sunday evening as thousands of Triona's friends and family joined forces to try and contact the singer and make her dream happen.

Independent.ie became involved in the campaign to contact Ed Sheeran on behalf of Triona and her family when their efforts had proven unsuccessful earlier this week.

Sheeran confirmed to independent.ie yesterday that he managed to speak to his biggest fan Triona shortly before lunchtime, making her dream come true.

"I managed to get in contact with Triona," Ed told independent.ie, "It's so sad."

After learning of Triona's death, the singer tweeted; "Rest in peace Triona, so heartbreaking x."

triona3.jpg

Triona's wish is to talk to Ed Sheeran

Triona's friend Orla Tinsley wrote this blog prior to Triona's death about how much the wish meant to her:

Since last night #SongForTri has been filling up my timeline on Twitter.

It's a request from the friends of 15 year old Triona Priestley ( @Trionaaa ) to have her idol Ed Sheeran call her. Triona has Cystic Fibrosis and is dying.

I remember watching her being cradled by her Mom at a few months old in the corridor of St. Philomena's Ward in Temple Street Children's Hospital.

Her brother, Colm, was one of my best comrades when we were stuck 'on the inside' together. Today is Triona's 11th day in ICU. The doctors are still treating her but there is very little hope.

Her brother told me she is not afraid.  Colm says she interrupts his guitar playing regularly to show him Ed Sheeran things. She loves music and acoustic guitar. 'It does something to my heart', she told her brother.

Her favorite song is Little Bird.

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In 2009 Triona got back in touch with me via Facebook.

The blonde haired, blue eyed girl had seen me on The Late Late Show talking about Cystic Fibrosis.

The next day she walked into her classroom and told her teacher she wanted to talk to the class. Her friends knew that she was sick, in and out of hospital a lot, but they didn't know why.

She wrote to tell me that seeing an older woman with CF had made her confident. That she felt like she should be proud and decided it was time to explain why she was sick all the time. It was one of the most moving emails I have ever read.

She told me I was her hero and that she wanted to be a writer some day too. She was having trouble keeping up in school and hospital was driving her crazy but she was dealing with it all by writing poetry after consultant had told her to give it a try.

It was gut wrenching, heart felt and deeply affecting poetry wise beyond her years.

Taking so many meds and constantly missing out on school and on fun is so hard.

The regime of treatment is endless and was making it difficult for her to live a normal life. But it was her incredible friends that kept her happy and it was Ed Sheeran's music For CF Awareness week some years ago she tweeted a picture to raise awareness.

In it she lay flat on the ground eyes open pulling a silly face. Above her light blonde hair she was surrounded by normal girly gear like her iPod, make up and books. Parallel to it was a picture when she lay in the same position, this time with a more serious look than the first photo and with her eyes closed.

Above her head she was surrounded by medicine, pills, syringes and a nebulier machine, and all the other time consuming treatments that come with being a teenager and having CF.

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Above: The photo Orla writes about

triona2.jpg 

Her brother told me that no one expected it to get this bad so quickly.

That they hoped she would get a transplant but it hasn't happened. She's been listening to Ed Sheeran non-stop over the past while as her condition has deteriorated.

The singer tweeted her late last night saying he would see her in October. Except that's unlikely to happen.

Her last tweet was on March 27th and it said 'My heart is in pieces'.

'She knows Ed is one busy man and had hoped he might give her a call in Temple Street Hospital and sing a few notes down the phone.

However at the moment she is no longer able to speak and so a video message would work better. If it happened, it would mean the world to her. Her brother said just the fact that he knows about her story means so much.'

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