Thursday 22 March 2018

Over €22k raised for treatment for seriously ill child after grandmother's heartbreaking radio appeal

Tomás Heneghan

A radio show appeal has raised over €22,000 for the treatment of a seriously ill child who faced a three-year wait for crucial surgery.

A distressed granmother called Cork’s RedFM’s Neil Prendeville Show on Thursday when plans for her sick granddaughter’s medical tests in the London were thrown into freefall.

Kathleen Weir spoke to the show about her seven-year-old granddaughter Abbey’s condition.

“Abbey was very sick from the time she was born. At three and a half she was diagnosed with a diplomatic hernia. The organs in her chest had to be moved. She ended up with a little tiny lung because her bowels were on top of her lung and her heart had to be shifted a little bit and her appendix had to be taken.

“Her bowel had to be brought from her chest down to its proper placing, but from that day to this her bowel has never worked properly.”

Ms Weir said many of Abbey’s organs were in the wrong place and that the issue had been ongoing for all of Abbey’s life.

“Now it’s been going on for seven years now. She wasn’t actually diagnosed till she was three and a half but we’re up and down to Crumlin for the last five years.

“Then last January the consultant told us he thinks it’s time for a second opinion. So we went to London, got a second opinion and they told us in London that she probably would need surgery but they would do these tests first that cannot be done in Ireland and they would let us know from there what can be done for her.

“So he wrote to Dublin, he sent all his data to Dublin, told them in Dublin what he was going to do and he told us in the meantime to apply to the travel abroad scheme to get her funding, so we did.

“All the papers were sent out, they were filled up, went to Dublin, went to London, they were back and forwards. Anyway on the 3rd March we got the letter stating that they were giving her funding for the tests. So that was grand.

“We were waiting and waiting then for London to come back to us and they did come back to us saying that she was going to have the tests on Thursday, 21st [July], but we’d have to go out on the 15th [July] for the simple reason that she’d have to be cleaned out.”

After paying €2000 for flights and accommodation for the Kathleen, Abbey and her parents, Kathleen was left at a loss about what she should do.

“We were due to fly out at 6:20 in the morning. Had everything arranged and then we got a phone call yesterday evening from the travel abroad scheme to say they weren’t funding it, for the simple reason that they said that she’s going private, which we knew nothing about. We have the flights booked, the hotel booked and now we’re going to lose the lot.

“It’s actually being done in Great Ormond Street. But the consultant is doing it private for the simple reason that he thinks she needs to be done straight away. Abbey is vomiting out stool. And that’s been going on for a long time.”

Kathleen told the show that she had no idea there was a problem until Wednesday evening when the family received the call from Dublin.

“They would do the tests if she goes on the waiting list which could take her two and half to three years. Like she could be dead within this time because she’s vomiting her stool. The child could die with poisoning.”

Following Kathleen’s harrowing account, the people of Cork managed to raise over €22,000 within an hour for the sick girl.

A local Sinn Fein TD, Jonathan O’ Brien also heard the about the family’s plight and made contact with the office of the Minister for Health Simon.

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