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Monday 23 September 2019

'Triona went to sleep with a smile on her face'

Triona Priestley
Triona Priestley
Ed Sheeran sang to Triona Priestley over the phone
Triona Priestly
Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

The mother of Triona Priestley has said that her daughter "fell asleep" for the last time with "a little smile on her face".

"We are forever indebted to Ed Sheeran for that, to grant such a wonderful opportunity to Triona," mum Bernie told Ryan Tubridy on the Late Late Show tonight.

"It was an amazing moment - it was like something out of a Hollywood script. Ed Sheeran sang the whole song and as Triona took her last breaths, he finished the song."

"I looked down and said 'I think she's asleep'. The consultant clipped off the mask from her face and she had a little smile on her face."

Dublin teenager Triona (15), who was seriously ill and had been battling cystic fibrosis, passed away last month.

An online campaign '#SongForTri' was launched by thousands of Triona's friends and family as they joined forces to fulfil her dying wish, which was to hear from her favourite singer Ed Sheeran.

The campaign, which trended on Twitter and in which became involved in, was a success and Ed Sheeran sang to Triona just moments before she passed.

Triona had been very determined to highlight awareness of the common genetic condition she suffered from throughout her young life, by recording and posting a series of videos.

"Triona wanted to get a message out about cystic fibrosis. She really felt strongly that Irish people should know about it and take responsibility," her mother said of the video footage tonight.

"In her own words, it is very powerful."

Her brother Colm, who also suffers from the illness, said it would be "his job" to edit and compile the many videos that Triona had created as was her wish.

"Adults suffering from cystic fibrosis have told me that she had given them support - a 15-year-old girl," he said.

"There was countless people that she was in contact with and was there for - including me."

This was a testament to the kind of person she was, her mother told Ryan Tubridy. "She always comforted everyone else. Even when she was in ICU, she put her arm around the consultant."

"Another time when a procedure went wrong, she told the surgeon 'you're still my favourite surgeon'. That's the kind of person Triona was," she added.

One of the videos "mischievous and fun" Triona was shown on the show where the young girl explains her daily routine in her own words and swears at people who don't have "as much mucus".

Before her death, the young girl drafted a 'bucket list' that she made a determined effort to 'tick off' before she died.

One of those items was a tweet from Ed Sheeran - and then a private song - which was granted in her last moments, with the help of her friends.

"The effort that was made to get her to that point shows to me that she was someone special," Colm said.

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