Irish boy (5) has new lease of life since radical brain surgery
A five-year-old boy from Swords, north County Dublin has a new lease of life since undergoing a radical operation which saw 20% of his brain removed.
Little Joar Ryan was experiencing up to 100 epileptic fits daily and at the age of four, he underwent a temporal lobe resection where dead tissue from his brain was removed to combat his epilepsy.
One year on, he has a new lease of life and is thriving alongside his brothers Jack and James (all five).
The surgery was a last resort as Joar's condition had stopped responding to medication and traditional treatments.
He has not had one seizure in the last twelve months and his parents said they pray daily that this is end of his seizures for good.
His parents Steven and Sandra Ryan told Independent.ie that their little son had "no life at alL" prior to his operation.
"It's been a remarkable change. Over the last year and a half, he's developed leaps and bounds. There's no more seizures and his development has really ramped up. It's been incredible," his father Steven explained.
"That wasn't much of a life," Sandra added. "We couldn't take our eyes off him. We couldn't bring him places - he had constant epileptic activity and medication didn't help.
"It was very tough for a little four year old, it was very hard."
Consultant Neurosurgeon Donncha O'Brien of Beaumont Hospital, who specialises in paediatric neurosurgery, said that Joar's case was quite remarkable.
His parents admitted they felt nervous prior to his life-changing surgery, but saw it as being a worthwhile risk for his long-term future health and happiness.
"He's been extremely lucky that he was a candidate for surgery.
"It's a tough time because there was no guarantees with the surgery so we were really taking a leap of faith. We thought it was the best thing at the time for Joar and his development."
Sandra said that they work on his memory and concentration every day as a family, who are optimistic about his further recovery.
""here's no guarantees that the seizures won't ever come back, but it's fantastic," she said. "He's in mainstream school and he loves it. He has friends and has come out of his shell."
The Ryan family were on hand to launch the Silver Bells Christmas Fundraiser which are raising funds for Beaumont Hospital and every cent from the funds will go towards improving the quality of care at the hospital.
His older brothers have always looked out for him, while Joar "asks a lot of questions about his brain".
"Now, he just gets on with life," his mother concluded.
See www.bhf.ie for more information on fundraising and the 'Silver Bell' campaign.