Sunday 20 October 2019

Family mourning as brave 'garda' Fionn (7) loses battle with cancer

‘Magical’ memories: Fionn Doyle (7) in a Garda car on his birthday in August. Photo: Daragh McSweeney
‘Magical’ memories: Fionn Doyle (7) in a Garda car on his birthday in August. Photo: Daragh McSweeney

Olivia Kelleher

A seven-year-old boy with leukaemia who received 10,000 birthday cards from all over the world last year has died.

The Garda Response Unit and Garda Dog Unit were among the guests at Fionn Doyle's birthday party at his home in Kildorrery, Co Cork, in August. A convoy of Garda cars and a fire engine were also brought to his house to celebrate the big day.

Fionn was presented with his own Garda uniform by Fermoy gardaí and a medal for being a superhero.

He was diagnosed with leukaemia at the age of just 18 months. He underwent treatment and went into remission in the summer of 2016. However, he suffered a relapse six months later.

A bone marrow transplant in December 2017 failed to stem the cancer.

In May of last year, his parents Eimear and Jack Doyle were told to prepare themselves for the worst. But Fionn's condition improved and he returned home from Dublin to north Cork.

Fionn received cards for his birthday from America, Australia and South Africa after his mother made an appeal online to make it an occasion to remember.

She said she had posted a message on Facebook asking people to send Fionn a birthday card, but she never expected such an enormous response.

They received about 2,000 cards daily in the days leading up his birthday and the local postman said he delivered 10,000 cards.

Eimear said Fionn's face "lit up" when he saw the Garda cars and the fire engine. "It was magical - memories made that will last forever," Eimear said.

It is understood that Fionn's family decided to celebrate Christmas early this year in case his condition worsened.

He died, surrounded by his family, on New Year's Eve.

He is survived by his parents and his eight-year-old sister Saoirse.

Irish Independent

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