Wednesday 13 December 2017

Heartwarming tribute to Liam (8) who died shortly before appearance as Leinster mascot

Liam was “overjoyed” when he was named as Leinster’s mascot
Liam was “overjoyed” when he was named as Leinster’s mascot
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

A heartwarming tribute will be paid to little Liam Hagan (8) who passed away last month, following a long battle with Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB).

Liam, who was a lifelong Leinster rugby fan, was born with EB which is a genetic disease that causes skin, both inside and out, to blister at the slightest touch.

Liam (8) from Monaghan, had a severe form of EB which left 80pc of his body covered in open wounds.

Liam’s grandmother Kathleen said she has “great admiration for the love and support” shown by Liam's mum Grainne.

"EB is an everyday grief that rules you 24/7 and there is no known cure, I'm hugely proud of my daughter and how she managed and I was happy to help out because she couldn't deal it all on her own,” said Kathleen.

"Children with severe EB like Liam don't have a childhood, they are in constant pain and it just keeps getting harder."

Liam was “overjoyed” when he was named as Leinster’s mascot at last weekend’s game against Connacht, but sadly passed away a few weeks ago.

In a heartwarming tribute, his cousin and best friend Adam McCormic, also from Monaghan, will lead the team out in his memory and Leinster Rugby have asked all supporters to acknowledge Liam and his courageous fight at the game.

Leinster forward Sean O’Brien said Liam was “the toughest little guy”.

“It is very sad that Liam won’t be with us on Saturday but we will make sure that Adam has a great day and we will remember Liam and our thoughts are with his family.

“It would be great if our supporters acknowledged Liam and supported Debra Ireland at the game.”

 Debra Ireland will be in attendance at the game and will be handing out butterfly tattoos and are asking supporters to wear the butterfly in a show of support for Liam and other families fighting EB.

Leinster announced that Sky Sports, the broadcasters of the game, will scan the crowd at half time to pick out supporters wearing their butterfly tattoos and one lucky supporter will win two Leinster Rugby season tickets for next season as well as other spot prizes on the night.

When Debra Ireland was chosen as Leinster Rugby’s charity of the year no-one was more excited than Liam.

“This is EB Awareness Week and Liam, being a rugby nut despite the pain he felt every time he touched a ball, was the obvious choice as mascot for Saturday’s match,” said Debra Ireland’s Judith Gilsenan.

“Joining in this celebration of Liam’s life and his unbelievable bravery would mean the world to his family.”

Liam’s mum Gráinne and his grandparents Paul and Kathleen and they will be guests of Leinster Rugby at the game on Saturday.

 Anyone wishing to support Debra Ireland during #EBAwarenessWeek is asked to text BUTTERFLY to 50300 to donate €4 and Debra Ireland will receive a minimum of €3.25 from every donation.

 "With EB every little bit can hurt, but in this case every little butterfly helps, so please show your support and text to make a donation,” said Judith.

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