Saturday 7 December 2019

Homeless boy (6) waiting on urgent liver transplant is offered a home

Helen with Charlie (left) and her eldest son Daniel
Helen with Charlie (left) and her eldest son Daniel
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

A house has been offered to a homeless mother to ensure that her gravely ill can be placed on a waiting list for a liver transplant.

Yesterday, Helen Lynch, from Tullamore, Co Offaly, claimed that her son Charlie - who turned six yesterday - is in the final stages of liver failure and will die without a transplant.

Charlie’s mother said that without an home address, he could not be placed on a transplant list.

Offaly County Council’s housing officer Mary Flynn Kenny confirmed to independent.ie that the authority has found a two-bedroom house for the family.

“We’re offering her temporary accommodation until such a time as more accommodation comes next year.”

“It’s a solution at the moment and it’s what Helen needs. The property just came on stream today, we have to inspect it, it has to be checked.”

“It will be only a temporary tenancy but at least it’s a solution. Helen will have an address. It’ll get her through the situation she’s in.”

Ms Lynch said the new accommodation offer is a boost for the family, ahead of their trip to London to see doctors at King’s College Hospital, London.

“It’s a positive thing but it needs to be ready on Friday at the latest. We could be all hands on deck from the time we come home with medical and ambulances. We could get a phone call at any stage to go to London.”

“It’s a temporary house until they can find a suitable house for me. They won’t know what the condition is until Monday.

“If it’s not liveable, I don’t know how long it’s going to take to make it liveable. I’m going to view on Monday and I’ll know more then.”

Read more: Homeless and awaiting a liver transplant: Charlie (6) says, I just want a house for Christmas

If Charlie gets the call that a donor’s liver has become available for him, he will have six hours to travel by ambulance from Tullamore to Dublin. He’ll then be flown by air ambulance to London by the Air Corps.

“I’ll be relieved once I get the keys of the house in my hands. I’ll be able to focus on the transplant itself,” Helen said.

“Not having the house has put a hold on everything.”

“I’d say Charlie will be delighted. He understands we’re fighting for a house. He understands that if we don’t have a house, we can’t fly over.”

“The support has been amazing from people. People offered me somewhere to stay and someone offered me to go to their house for Christmas.”

Ms Lynch has been on the housing waiting list for three years, and had been struggling to find any landlord who will take rent allowance.

"Charlie is a happy little child. He never complains but he can't do what normal children would do," his mother said.

"He has fluid around his belly and this causes his belly to stick out."

The youngster was first diagnosed in hospital when he was one-month-old. Ms Lynch lived in Dublin close to Crumlin Hospital while Charlie was a baby, but moved back to Tullamore when he was three when he no longer needed to attend hospital as regularly.

However, the rent on their home in Clara, outside Tullamore, increased when the lease was due for renewal.

"I became homeless in the summer. I was living in my mother's house but the doctors told me it was not suitable for Charlie," Ms Lynch said.

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