Katie Taylor shows a tender touch on hospital visit
IF the ability to make children smile was an Olympic sport, Katie Taylor would have won a cache of gold medals yesterday.
Staff, parents and children at Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin beamed as she spent three-and-a-half hours visiting sick children, posing for pictures, and letting them wear her hard-earned medal.
One of her biggest fans was Jack O'Sullivan (7), from Tallaght, Dublin, who spent hours making a large multi-coloured poster congratulating the athlete on her performance in London 2012.
And she signed a drawing which Sean Bergin (10), from Roscrea, Co Offaly, had made for her yesterday morning when he heard that she was planning to visit.
A hospital spokeswoman said: "Katie chatted to the children about why they were in hospital and when they might get home. All the children got to see Katie's gold medal and the mams and dads were just as excited to meet her."
Teresa Slevin, Nurse Manager of the National Cancer Centre, said everyone in the hospital was "delighted" to meet with the boxing phenomenon.
"Katie's visit was a wonderful distraction for the children and their parents," she said. "The buzz in the ward before and after her visit was fabulous."
Chief executive Lorcan Birthistle, said Katie has always been very supportive of the hospital and they are "very grateful" she paid them a visit so soon after her Olympic success.
The 26-year-old visited the National Children's Burns Unit and the National Children's Centre at the hospital. She also spent more than an hour in the Medical Tower meeting patients, signing pictures and posing for photos.
Speaking just hours before, Katie said she was waiting to see what contracts she was offered before making a final decision on the next step of her career.
But she said her father and coach, Peter, himself a former boxer, will give her his full backing despite his personal wish that she hangs up her gloves for good.
He said he will back her "100pc", no matter what she decides will be the next step of her career.