independent

Monday 22 September 2014

Brave little Noah fighter to the end

David Tucker

Published 24/09/2013 | 05:42

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Noah Furlong. Photo: Ger Hore

'HE couldn't speak, but he was smiling at us all, saying his farewells. He knew he was going to pass'

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NOAH Furlong was a fighter for all of his seven years, right until he finally had to give up his battle for life.

Surrounded by his loved ones, Noah died in his sleep at the home of his nan and grandad in Taghmon where he lived with his mam, Ciara.

The night before he died, Noah, who was diagnosed with Alper's Disease three and a half years ago, was smiling his farewells to his family and friends.

'He couldn't speak, but he was smiling at us all, saying his farewells,' said Ciara, 'he knew he was going to pass.'

Noah, the son of Ciara and Joey Sinnott, was an only child.

At first there was no sign of the disease that was to cut his life short. He was a normal, happy child full of life and fun and loved nothing better than to box with his grandad Tom.

However, three and a half years ago, he was diagnosed with Alper's Syndrome, a degenerative condition that causes dementia, seizures and liver disease.

Ciara said that at that time and after he had suffered his fiirst seizure, doctors told the family that Noah would never walk or talk again.

'He proved them wrong and while he didn't use bold words, the first words he said to the doctors when he came round after being in a coma for two weeks were "yous bastards",' she said.

'We were glad to hear them, we knew well enough he was going to walk and talk again.'

Ciara said he proved his doctors wrong when he learned to walk, his family spending many hours with him on the Green in Monastery Avenue, coaching the youngster back on his feet and take the first steps since his seizure.

'He was a real fighter, a determined young lad.'

Noah was enrolled at St. Mary's National School in Taghmon and his fellow students performed an honour guard as his small coffin was carried past them during his Mass of the Angel's at St. Fintan's Church last Tuesday.

Among the gifts carried up to the altar by his closest friends Aaron Maloney and Calvin Kehoe, were a fireman's helmet and his favourite toy, a Jake and the Neverland Pirate's teddy bear.

'His uncle Anthony is a fireman in Enniscorthy and Noah always said that when he was a big boy, he was going to be a fireman like his uncle.'

Firefighters were among the mourners at Noah's funeral Mass.

Noah's reputation as a battler against the odds even reached boxer Katie Taylor who a pair of gloves and a signed photo, which were among his prized possessions, after his grandad told Billy Walsh's father Liam about the youngster and his fight for life.

Some time after his first seizure, Noah suffered his second, this time it was too severe for him to walk again, although against the odds he did regain his speech

'The second seizure was worse and he lost the use of his left side, his arm wouldn't work, it was like a stroke.

'And while he couldn't walk he got back to crawling, there was no stopping him, no giving up in him,' she said.

However, a few days before Noah died, Ciara said everyone was aware that this time he wasn't going to pull through.

She said it had got to the stage that he couldn't even open his eyes, but the night before he died he was awake and trying to talk and smiling his farewells.

'We knew he was shutting down and we all wanted him to go in his sleep, without another seizure, and he did,' she said, her voice emotion filled at the memory.

'We were told on February 22 that he wasn't going to make it through the night and we told him then that he could go to the angels.

'But he stuck it out until September. He was a real fighter,' she said.

Noah, who was buried at St. Fintan's Cemetery following the Mass, is survived by his mother and father, nanny and grandad Tina and Tom, aunts Ailish and Bun, uncles Conor, Adam and Paddy, cousins Nadia, Tegan and Kelsey, extended family members and many friends and neighbours.

Wexford People

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