Wednesday 12 December 2018

The kindness Dubliners showed to an Australian couple when their son was diagnosed with cancer is heartwarming

Herald columnist and 98fm radio host Adrian Kennedy tells below how he was blown away by the kindness shown to an Australian couple he met on his honeymoon a few weeks ago.

The late Mitchell Pettett and his girlfriend Abby Morris.
The late Mitchell Pettett and his girlfriend Abby Morris.

Adrian Kennedy

When we hear Dublin mentioned in the media, it's generally about something negative - gangland criminals being shot dead or a rise in the number of burglaries or robberies.

We don't hear enough about how great Dublin is and how wonderful the people are.

So let me tell you a little story which shows our lovely city in a positive light.

I was on holiday in Australia recently and got chatting to a lovely couple, Joe and Shirleen.

They told me about a trip their daughter took to Dublin in July 2016 with her boyfriend. Unfortunately, it didn't all go to plan.

Mitchell Pettett (21) and his girlfriend Abby Morris (inset) saved for 12 months to take a two-and a-half month tour of Europe, beginning in Dublin.

However, their plans were derailed when Mitchell fell ill and was taken to the Mater Hospital.

He was diagnosed with leukaemia. His dad Bryce and mother Anne flew over to be with their son as soon as they found out he was unwell.

I invited Abby and Bryce on air to tell the story. I was thrilled when they said they would love to chat.

They said that during their time here the family stayed in the Castle Hotel off Parnell Square.

They told us that when the owner, Fionn McCumhaill, found out about their situation, he allowed them to stay for as long as they needed to without charge.

According to Bryce, taxi drivers refused to take money when they heard about his situation.

He said one driver showed particular kindness as Mitchell's mother went out to get her son something to eat.

When he learned of Mitchell's illness, he drove her to Burger King, paid for the meals and returned her to the Mater, all free of charge.

Mitchell's father is a detective sergeant in Melbourne, so police associations in Australia contacted An Garda Siochana in order to get the family as much help as possible.

Gda Greg McGovern, Gda Gareth Norton and Insp Anthony Gallagher from Mountjoy Garda Station stayed in contact with the Pettett family and helped where they could.

They even took Bryce to a GAA match, and he's now one of Dublin's biggest supporters.

Once Mitchell was strong enough, he flew home where he had more treatment.

Sadly, last year Mitchell lost his fight against cancer and died in Melbourne surrounded by his loved ones.

Abby and Bryce said they look forward to returning to Dublin in July, as a tribute to Mitchell on the anniversary of his diagnosis and death.

They'll be arriving with a gang of Mitchell's relatives and friends, and I'm really looking forward to meeting them.

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