Friday 22 June 2018

Farewell 'fit for a princess' after Tina (17) dies from rare illness

Tributes paid as brave girl tragically dies from rare illness

Tina McElligott suffered from a rare degenerative condition called Alpers
Tina McElligott suffered from a rare degenerative condition called Alpers

Kathy Armstrong

Tributes have been paid to a "wonderful, magical" girl who has tragically died from a rare degenerative condition.

Tina McEligott passed away on Sunday at her family's home in Kilflynn, Co Kerry, in the arms of her parents Martin and Mags.

Tina (17) was only diagnosed with neurological condition Alpers in 2016 and was given just six months to live.

Unfortunately her condition took a turn for the worst last weekend and she died peacefully on Sunday.

Close family friend Charlotte Caldwell has spoken fondly of Tina and said her loved ones are heartbroken.

She told Independent.ie: "It's very, very sad, Tina was absolutely wonderful, she was a magical wee girl and everyone is just devastated,

"I saw her last Thursday and she was very sick then, it just seemed to happen really quickly.

"Her funeral will take place tomorrow morning and her parents have asked that people line out to give her a guard of honour, we always called her a princess so we've wanted to give her a farewell fit for a princess, a royal goodbye.

The late Tina McElligott with her mother Mags
The late Tina McElligott with her mother Mags

"She is a legend and will live on in our hearts."

Symptoms of Alpers includes seizures and stiffness of the limbs. At one point, Tina was taking up to 25 tablets a day.

Her family said she had an improvement in her health last year when she spent several months in Spain so she could avail of cannabis oil treatment.

Charlotte said that Tina really benefited from using cannabis oil.

"The Alpers was basically attacking her body and she suffered from severe epilepsy," she continued.

"When she underwent the medicinal cannabis programme in Spain it was extremely successful, it gave her great relief from her symptoms.

"It got to a point where she was able to leave her wheelchair at home last year when she went to a family wedding and she was able to dance.

"Unfortunately there's no cure for Alpers, she was the oldest living person that we know of who had the condition."

  • Tina's parents have requested donations in lieu of flowers to Sponsor A Bud, which gives financial assistance to low-income families for medicinal cannabis treatment. To donate please visit here or donations can also be left with The Gleasure Funeral Home, Matt Talbot Road, Tralee Tel: 066-712-3079.

Billy Caldwell with his mother Charlotte
Billy Caldwell with his mother Charlotte

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