Tuesday 20 February 2018

Seriously ill boy is 'over the moon' as he's chosen to be a Manchester United mascot

Charlie Lynch (8)
Charlie Lynch (8)
Helen Lynch with her son Charlie (8)

Kathleen O'Sullivan

A seriously ill eight-year-old boy’s dream has come true after being chosen to be a mascot for Manchester United.

Charlie Lynch, from Tullamore, Co Offaly, suffers from the condition biliary atresia and is in desperate need of a liver transplant.

The little boy has is also suffering from liver failure, as a result of his illness, and has been on a transplant waiting list for three years.

He's a big Manchester United fan and as a surprise his school contacted a charity that offers mascot packages for children and Charlie will be stepping out on to the pitch with his football idols when they play Swansea on August 19.

His mother, Helen Lynch, spoke about his excitement.

“He’s over the moon, so delighted. When his teacher told him, he ran around the school screaming," she said.

Read more: 'Charlie is running out of time' - Mum's desperate plea for son (8) who is waiting for liver transplant

“It was the school who managed to organise it. When we tried, there were too many issues [associated] with travelling by the doctors.

“We went to Kings Hospital in London. Charlie has spent a lot of time there before, and they said if he was fine to travel from Ireland to England, he could do the journey to the game."

Ms Lynch said when the school made the charity aware of his condition and his story, they said yes straight away.

“He gets to meet all the players and walk out onto the pitch holding Wayne Rooney’s hand. He’s his favourite player; he’s such a big fan of the team.”

Charlie’s support worker also managed to get him a signed autograph from Anthony Martial, a Man United player.

In March, Helen told Independent.ie that "time is running out for Charlie. He's deteriorating fast and needs a liver as soon as possible."

His condition causes a severe build up of fluid in his stomach, leg and ankles, to the point where his stomach is completely bloated.

He has to travel to Cardiff every fortnight to drain the fluid from his stomach and he is on more medication because of his eyesight worsening.

He is currently living in Wales with his mother Helen and brother, Daniel (9) in the hope of finding a donor.

The tests and the transplants have to be done in the UK as Irish Hospitals do not carry out transplants on children.

Helen said they chose Wales because it operates a system where people are deemed to have consented to organ donation unless they specifically opt out, so there is a bigger chance of getting an organ donor.

Despite years of searching, there has never been a suitable liver found to match Charlie’s 0 negative blood type.

Helen herself was prepared to give her son 40 percent of her liver to save him, but doctors said it is not big enough to use.

She has previously said that doctors are at a loss of what more they can do for him.

“He appears in good form, but he doesn’t feel the same on the inside.”

“He has had to spend all his life like this and the condition is getting worse.

“All we can do is keep fighting.”

The family have a GoFundMe page here to help cover the costs of going to the UK, as well as potential money for a donor to fly over for the procedure.

Charlie with mum Helen
Charlie with mum Helen

Helen said it has a been great help for them and people have shown so much support.

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