Wednesday 13 November 2019

Birthday dream comes true for 'miracle' toddler Kate (2) as she moves home to Cork after two years in hospital

Katie Flynn and mum Lisa with Pippa O'Connor and Briand Ormond
Katie Flynn and mum Lisa with Pippa O'Connor and Briand Ormond

Ralph Riegel

A family's dream to have their "little princess" move back home has finally come true with Kate Flynn (23 months) granted a special home-care package.

Kate has spent almost every night of her young life in hospital after being born with serious respiratory complications, leaving her unable to breathe on her own and dependent on a ventilator.

But her devoted parents Mark and Lisa waged a two-year campaign to get little Kate back to her Cobh, Co Cork home.

Since last February, Kate has been able to stay at home for only a few individual days.

Now, she is moving home on a permanent basis - allowing her family to end a two-year nightmare of constant trips to Dublin for Kate's hospital care.

The family is thrilled that Kate will be able to celebrate her second birthday next month at her family home - the first birthday she has ever celebrated outside hospital.

The toddler has a complex tracheotomy and requires full-time medical care. She spent most of her young life in Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Dublin.

But, as Kate has grown stronger and her parents became more skilled in coping with her special medical needs, the toddler was assessed as suitable to move home on a full-time basis.

Kate can now breathe unassisted during the day and communicates with the aid of a special voice valve attached to her throat.


The home-care package is aimed at providing the nursing support Kate needs to be able to live in Cobh full-time with her parents and siblings.

Her parents admitted that all the toddler now wants is to live at her Cobh home, spend time with her siblings, Adam (6) and Alex (4), and get the chance to go to Fota Wildlife Park.

"We are absolutely over the moon," Mark said.

"This is what we have been dreaming about and working towards for two years. We can scarcely believe it is true."

The couple admitted they are particularly grateful for the incredible support they have received at the Crumlin Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House, which supports families of seriously ill children.

Mark admitted the family never realised they would be so dependent on the facility.

For over a year, Lisa based herself full-time at the Ronald McDonald House while Kate was receiving daily treatment with Mark travelling to Dublin at weekends with their sons.

They have spent the past two Christmases in Dublin to be close to Kate.


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