'Santa Cycle' hits road to fund life-changing children's surgery
Four year-old Tadhg Fearon is back on his bike thanks to kind-hearted surgeons.
Tadhg, from Carrigmore View, Aylesbury, Tallaght, who suffered from hip dislocation, is among the lucky children who have had a life-changing operation carried out by a team of doctors who give their time for free.
Pat Kiely, an orthopaedic surgeon in Our Lady's Hospital Crumlin, founded the Straight Ahead charity six years ago in response to the delays faced by children who needed time-critical orthopaedic operations in their spines, hips and knees.
He heads a group of doctors who do the operations during weekends on their time off at no fee.
Their generosity gives a new lease of life to these children whose conditions would otherwise deteriorate .
Several of the children suffered from the spinal condition scoliosis, which was severely affecting their organs.
Tadhg's mother Alison said he was diagnosed with developing hip dysplasia in September last year and needed the surgery.
"It was carried out in Crumlin last April," she said.
"The five-hour operation involved the insertion of two pins. Tadhg was in a brace for weeks afterwards."
The longer he waited for the surgery the greater risk he faced of suffering unnecessary complications.
He has made a great recovery and is back in the pool doing his favourite sport of swimming.
Straight Ahead is organising its fun Santa Cycle fundraising events in Dublin and Cork on Sunday, December 3.
The doctors are appealing to people of all levels of cycling ability to turn out.
"We have helped well over 100 kids so far," said Mr Kiely.
The charity means that instead of these children jumping the queue during regular theatre hours they are operated on in "extra time" over a weekend.
The surgeons do not charge but face other costs such as expensive spinal rods.
The hope is the cycle will get a big turnout and raise around €10,000 to €15,000.
"We have a target to reach 150 operations hopefully by the end of 2018," he added.
Everyone who registers will be provided with festive Santa suits and hats.
The convoy starts at 5pm in the Phoenix Park and ends at Laurels pub Condalkin.
The Cork cycle will hit he road at 7.30pm from Goldberg's, Victoria Road, Cork.
To register log on to the events section at the Children's Medical & Research Foundation online at www.cmrf.org.