Climbing for Jack & Jill
Sun shines on a great turnout for charity mountain walk
The story of little Noah Doyle who has been forced to suffer with scoliosis has touched the hearts of the nation as his father Adam fights to get treatment for his two and a half year old son.
Many of those who have heard Noah's story joined Adam in a fund-raising event in Carlingford for the Jack & Jill Foundation on Saturday.
As the family have received support from the Jack & Jill Foundation, set up to assist the families of seriously ill children, they decided to organise an 'Up The Hill for Jack & Jill' event in Carlingford as a way of showing their gratitude.
Adam, who coaches with Dundalk Rugby Club, organised three walks so that the event would be suitable for all ages and the day proved a real family event.
Blessed with a beautiful sunny September day, the walkers gathered at the Foy Centre before embarking on their choice of three routes along the slopes of Slieve Foy, where they enjoyed spectacular views across Carlingford Lough to The Mournes.
'We had 460 people complete a walk and everyone had a great time,' said Adam, who climbed while carrying Noah.
'I just really want to thank everyone who took part and everyone who helped make the event happen,' he said. 'It will take a week or two for all the sponsor cards to come back but we are confident that the event will have raised significant funds for Jack & Jill.'
Local firms Horseware and CX+ Sport made donations to the event, while McAteer's Foodhouse offered a prize of a lunch for four in their Carlingford restaurant and a return trip on the ferry between Greenore and Greencastle sponsored by Scenic Carlingford Ferry for all those supporting the cause.
While Noah was diagnosed with scoliosis after his birth, he has yet to receive treatment.
His parents fear that Noah will never walk or lead a normal life as he has been waiting so long for treatment.
The delay in accessing treatment means that extreme surgery will be required if he is to regain any movement in his spine.
But Noah is waiting to go on the waiting list for surgery at Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlim, which is under pressure as the operating theatres at the hospital are only available to the five spinal surgeons three days a week.
The Scoliosis Advocacy Network has said the theatre at needs to be opened for five days a week if the Government and Health Service Executive are to fulfil a commitment to drastically reduce waiting lists for scoliosis surgery.
In the meantime, families are being forced to travel abroad for treatment as there are no dates for surgery in Ireland.
As Noah needs a full inter-disciplinary team, taking him abroad for treatment isn't an option as it would cost millions of Euros.
'Crumlin is our only option,' said Adam, who often has to call an ambulance so that Noah can be taken to hospital in pain.
'We are very grateful to the Jack & Jill Foundation who have given us support with a nurse so that we can get some free time