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Sunday 25 February 2018

Mum's delight as gift helps build CF unit

Marian Keane holding pictures of her late children Thomas and Stephanie. JOE TRAVERS
Marian Keane holding pictures of her late children Thomas and Stephanie. JOE TRAVERS
Caroline Crawford

Caroline Crawford

A MOTHER who lost two of her young children to separate illnesses has told of her delight after a bequest from a family member led to the setting up of a new paediatric facility for cystic fibrosis.

Marian Keane lost her two-year-old son Thomas to a kidney disorder while his older sister Stephanie died of cystic fibrosis when she was 14.

The children died within 10 years of each other, Thomas in 2002 and Stephanie in 2012.

The tragedies led Marian's uncle Andy Brown to bequeath his Galway home to the CF Galway Association.

The planned sale of the house and other fundraising activities by the association will raise €250,000 towards the €590,000 cost of a new outpatient paediatric CF unit at University Hospital Galway.

Turning the sod on the project, Marian, from Maam, Co Galway, told how the family was grateful that the unit would help others whose children were battling CF.

"I've had so many days in here of despair and worry and today is such a happy one because I know what it will mean for families. It was a constant worry when she was brought in because of infection, where she was going to be put and would you end up with a private room," she said.

Marian told how her daughter had never let her illness control her life, right up until her death in 2012.

"She kept going to school and she was a very bright and bubbly person. But she would talk about her illness."

Marian added that the death of Thomas had been particularly hard on Stephanie, who was seven at the time.

"It was a hell of a blow to us all, but it was particularly devastating for Stephanie. She just loved her little brother."

Irish Independent

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