independent

Saturday 25 May 2019

Millstreet supports baby Jacob

A BEAUTIFUL Millstreet baby who was born without eyes will need to travel abroad for a series of operations to assist in the development of his facial and skeletal structure.

This week, friends of baby Jacob launched a campaign to help the Polish family fight the very rare condition 'anophthalmos', which affects only 1—10 in every 100,000 children. A BEAUTIFUL Millstreet baby who was born without eyes will need to travel abroad for a series of operations to assist in the development of his facial and skeletal structure.

Little Jacob was born in August to a Polish family who are living in Millstreet. The very rare condition, anophthalmos affects only 1 to 10 in every 100,000 children. The condition means baby Jacob will never see and he will need special training as well as equipment and facilities.

Anophthalmos is the congenital absence of one or both eyeballs and results in severe malformation of facial skeleton. The treatment for congenital anophthalmos involves working with the empty orbit by placing a self expanding implant. The implant applies pressure within the eye socket and this stimulates the development of a normal facial structure.

The community of Millstreet is rallying behind the family to raise funds for Jacob's treatment. A Baby Jacob Trust Fund has been set up and so far one fundraising concert has been sold out and another is planned for December 6 at the recently restored Chapel of the Little Flower at Drishane Castle.

A support website for Baby Jacob includes an account by his mother, Wiola, of the events on the day of his birth. She recalled how the medical team placed him on her stomach. "I was so happy when started crying. After a while, I heard them say, 'The baby won't open his eyes.' The first thing that came to my mind was that his eyelids must have grown together and they were surely going to handle this. But the midwife's face told something else."

She said they were in shock and naturally very upset. The couple found a medical clinic in Germany where Jacob can receive seven operations which he needs. One when he is three months old, and this is deemed as very important for normal development of his skull and eye sockets.

While the family are in turmoil, the community of Millstreet is rallying behind them to give every help possible. Chairman of the Baby Jacob Trust Fund, Jerry Pat O'Leary, said the group were delighted with the great community response. "Many people have given their time and talent, as well as the food and drink for the concerts."

On December 6 a host of musical talent including Marina Cassidy, St. Patrick's Church Choir, Scéal Eile, the Drishane Gospel Choir and many others will perform at a charity concert in the Chapel of the Little Flower in Drishane Castle. Tickets cost €25 and are available from O'Leary Family Butchers, The Square, Millstreet 029 70800. The support website is: www.babyjacob.ie

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