IT was an extra special day when a little boy who was at the centre of a Wexford fundraising campaign started school this week.
It was an extra special day when a little boy who was at the centre of a Wexford fundraising campaign started school this week.
Ryan Healy Nolan, a son of Wexford woman Gillian Healy, was diagnosed with a rare liver cancer when he was a baby and had a transplant in King's College Hospital in London three years ago.
At the time, his relatives in Wexford including his aunt Dolores organised fundraising events to help Gillian and her husband Harry with medical expenses.
The couple live in Carrick-on-Suir, County Tipperary, and also have an older son Scott, aged eight who looks out for his baby brother.
As she watched her youngest boy skip off to school yesterday (Monday) at the Presentation Primary School in the town, a delighted Gillian took the opportunity to thank Wexford people for their generosity and support.
'Ryan is a very special little boy and he has been through a lot during his short life,' she said.
'The people of Wexford were fantastic in fundraising for him during his treatment.'
'I think they would now like to see how far he has come and how well he is doing.'
Ryan, now aged four and a half , was only 11 months old when he was diagnosed with the childhood cancer 'Hepatoblastoma' in late 2009. The condition only affects children under five, and only one in a million of those.
He underwent intensive chemotherapy for five months in Crumlin Children's Hospital before an eight-hour transplant operation in London in April 2010.
He spent 48 hours in intensive care and after three weeks on the hospital's Sunshine Ward, he returned to Ireland with his family.
A week later, he received his final chemotherapy session. He has to take anti-rejection medication for the rest of his life to prevent his body rejecting his new liver.
'He is now three years into remission and doing very well with no signs of rejection,' said Gillian, a regular visitor to her family home in Wexford.
'So many people were involved in Ryan's treatment and we will be forever thankful to them.'
'We are blessed to now have such a healthy little boy starting school like every boy his age - a moment in his life that sometimes seemed impossible,' said Gillian.