LITTLE Joy Lawlor Doyle bravely came through a second setback in hospital and was back home in time to enjoy playing in the heavy January snow.
The two-year-old tot underwent life-saving surgery on a heart defect in December.
Joy was born with a medical condition known as pulmonary stenosis, as well as a heart problem called atrial septal defect.
But her family were thrown back into turmoil when Joy had to return to Our Lady's Hospital for 10 days over Christmas when she contracted an infection in her incision.
Her mother Gemma said: "She went through a tough time.
"She wasn't critical, it was a superficial infection. But doctors are very happy with her progress. Joy is doing extremely well."
Gemma said that Joy couldn't wait to get back to her friends and try out some of the fresh snow which fell heavily in their home town of Carlow. "She is tremendous, she is back at her creche," she said. "She loves going there, she is always talking about her friends."
Joy's parents Gemma and Mark have pushed ahead with their campaign, Save Joy, to develop facilities and support networks for parents of ill children in hospital.
The toddler had been on a waiting list since September after being diagnosed with a hole in her heart, but doctors had to cancel the procedure a number of times due to the number of emergency cases.
The campaign is now investigating how it might be able to provide support to any family that is going through a similar experience. Gemma said: "Our experience was so eye opening. Parents and family need a better support system. It is so difficult, especially over Christmas.
"The facilities for parents are fairly rudimentary. You can't have hot food or hot drinks on the ward so you have to wait for another adult to relieve you.
"We'd like to help make life more comfortable for parents."
Gemma is meeting with Joy's consultants later next week to discuss what could be put into place with the money that has already been raised.