Meet brave Eoin (13) - up for a Children of Courage award after half his life in hospital

Geraldine Gittens

THIS IS the brave teenager who has spent half his life in hospital and is now nominated for the Children of Courage Award.

Eoin Buckley (13) was born with his heart on the wrong side of his body, and he also suffers from eye defects and bowel problems, as well as heart and walking problems.

Since Eoin was three days old, he's had three heart ops, 12 foot ops, and three hip ops. Every time he goes under anaesthetic he runs a greater risk of having a heart attack.

His dad James said: "He's been in hospital for six or seven years of his life. Most people's medical files are paper thin, but Eoin's is like a book.

"He doesn't lead a very full and active life because he's very restricted in what he can and can't do.

"He can't play football like other kids, but he's just one of those kids who never lets things get him down, and he just gets on with it."

Eoin was diagnosed with Charge Syndrome, a rare illness which causes heart and renal problems, delayed puberty, eye defects and growth problems.

Though Eoin's parents were told that he would only live 24 hours when he was born, he has overcome all the odds and hopes to go to university and earn soccer coaching badges.


"He's a typical 13-year-old boy but he has special defects as well. When he was born, the doctors told us that he would never survive the next 24 hours, and they told us months later after that that he would never walk and talk.

"Eoin's disease is physical and he makes things a lot easier for us, he's very independent, and if we have to help him do something, he tries to do things to help us. He never falls behind in his schoolwork. He's special."

Eoin, from Derry, is one of eight Irish children to be nominated for the Share A Dream Children Of Courage awards, to take place on November 27.

He spent one a year in hospital when he was 11 years old after a hip-restructuring operation, and he now plans to print a survival guide for children who fear going into hospital.

"Even when he was in his hospital bed for a year, when lots of people would cry and get upset, he just got through it and said the sooner I get out of here the better.

"And he came up with the idea to write a survival book for kids when they go into hospital. It's an information leaflet and we're waiting to try and get it printed next year.

"A lot of children tend to get scared when they've to go into hospital, but he's been there and done that and he never shows any signs of fear."