Friday 20 April 2018

'Future looks bright' for kids with Cystic Fibrosis

Julie Kierans, her daughter Anne Marie and grandson Lochlann at the launch.
Julie Kierans, her daughter Anne Marie and grandson Lochlann at the launch.
Julie Kierans and Peter Hughes unveil the plaque at the Paddy Kierans CF Unit.
Loretta Byrne, who’s son Aodhan will attend the unit, with Deputy Gerard Nash and Philip Watt from Cystic Fibrosis Ireland.

Alison Comyn

THE CUTTING of the ribbon to officially open the Paddy Kierans Paediatric Cystic Fibrosis Unit last Thursday, combined commemoration and celebration, sadness and joy, loss and pride.

So many people, young and old, had waited for this special day – a realisation of many dreams and the result of the hopes and efforts of many people over many years.

'I am humbled that I am lucky enough to be chairman at this time, and as this day arrives, I am proud of our past and confident of our future,' said Drogheda CF branch chairman Cyril Gillen, welcoming the assembled guests to the front of the Windmill Road clinic, which faces onto a car park on the grounds of the Lourdes Hospital.

'I look back to the start of our battle to have this clinic built, when there were 19 children with CF in Drogheda – and 13 families who lost their loved ones – and there was no hope, no treatment and it was an unequal fight.

'This house was part of the dream of Paddy Kierans, who used to say "while there is still a child here in Ireland with CF, I will fight with all my might."

'Today, the future looks bright for our children with CF.'

The building cost €670,000, of which €570,000 was raised through charitable donations and fundraising.

The remaining €100,000 was provided through a grant from the national lottery supported by Minister for Health, James Reilly, who was unable to attend the opening due to other commitments.

Fit out costs, staffing and running costs of the clinic in the future will be provided by Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital/the HSE.

'This is very much a partnership project and this new unit significantly reduces the chance of cross infection for our young patients who will no longer have to go to the main hospital for their regular assessments,' said CF Ireland CEO Philip Watt.

'A state-of-the-art air filter system will purge the consulting rooms after every visit, helping to ensure there are no harmful bugs for the next CF patient.'

Thursday's event began with a Mass for families of those affected by CF, and many more packed into a marquee beside the main entrance to the new clinic. It is quickly being dubbed the Tardis as, like the tiny call box from Dr. Who, there is much more space inside than you would think possible from looking from the outside.

The house was given a blessing from hospital chaplain Fr. Tom Hogan and Dr. Mohammad Islam and Mayor of Drogheda Richie Culhane called it an ingenious idea, which will greatly benefit children with CF now, and into the future.

Drogheda Independent