A baby boy who needs constant nursing to stay alive has won the hearts of a Dublin community.
Seven-month-old Cian Byrne is unable to swallow and needs round-the-clock care at home to prevent him from choking. Family friends and well-wishers are raising funds to help pay for his home nursing needs.
His mother Joanne, 40, said: "We have to keep his airways clear and he is in constant need. But he's a happy little baby with a great personality."
Cian has a rare disease called Cri Du Chat syndrome. The French term means Cry of the Cat, as it causes babies to make the sound of a meowing kitten due to problems with the larynx and nervous system. He also has partial Down syndrome.
Soon after his birth, Cian had to be transferred to intensive care at Crumlin Hospital and the family were informed he had a life-limiting illness. He rallied but he needs constant nursing care.
His parents Andy and Joanne were allowed to bring him home to Finglas, and a HSE homecare plan allows him to have a nurse five nights a week. The couple and Cian's 20-year-old brother Shane have been trained to suction his airways at regular intervals.
"Cian has surprised everyone. He wasn't expected to live this long. He's a beautiful child," said his determined mother.
The Jack and Jill Foundation are helping with nursing needs and the LauraLynn children's hospice charity provide respite breaks for Andy and Joanne.
The family need help to pay for further nursing hours. Fundraising is continuing. A benefit night was held last night at the Regency Hotel in Whitehall, Dublin.
Donations can be sent to the Care For Cian fund at AIB account 26805025, sort code 93-23-53 or to Paypal account firstname.lastname@example.org.