Foleys believe happy end in sight
Ronan Foley’s agonising wait for vital surgery may finally be drawing to a close as his parents received a September 24 operation date for their 14-year-old son.
It’s almost 1,000 days since an assessment process into the Killorglin boy’s developing spinal curvature began in March 2018, and this curvature went from 42 degrees to 90 degrees in the two years that followed.
Despite several false dawns since being identified as a priority case in October 2018 – most notably the cancellation of a provisional surgery date for March of this year – his father, Tony, this week said his family is delighted to receive the date and believes the end of the ordeal is finally in sight.
The surgery itself will be more complicated than previously anticipated due to the deterioration in the St Francis Special School student’s condition. Pelvic intervention will now be required, while the surgery may need to take place over two days, although the aim is still to complete it in one day, Tony said.
He said that his family is upbeat at the latest development, however.
“We’re very positive people, and we’re absolutely delighted because it gave us something to aim for,” he said. “We have to assume that it will happen on that date. We’re cautiously optimistic.
“It was a very frustrating journey. It was something he was entitled to, a basic entitlement, and a three or four month waiting list turned into a two-and-a-half year wait. But we do believe that this is actually it.”
“As a family, it’s heart-breaking to see him the way he is when there should be no need for it,” mom Caroline said. “And he’s not the only child in this situation. He has no quality of life, he’s either lying on the floor, on a bean bag, or in the bed. He can only stay in his wheelchair for a short length of time.”
“We would like to see reform in the HSE when it comes to waiting lists, especially with children and the elderly,” said Tony. “We are lucky that we have a great network around us, but there are people out there without that voice.”
Ronan, whose spinal curvature was a complication of his cerebral palsy, was due to travel to Dublin yesterday (Tuesday) for a consultation and has undergone several pre-operations.
His dad was quick to thank those who backed their campaign.
“We want to thank our local community and local public representatives, such as Michael Cahill, Norma Foley, Pa Daly, the Healy-Raes, Mikey Sheehy. We’ve had positive feedback from the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, who has been very helpful and approachable,” he said.
“We want to thank St Francis Special School; and his past school, St Oliver’s, Ballycasheen, who became like an extended family to us.
“We want to thank the media outlets who voiced our case, and all those who promoted our cause in the locality and further afield, such as Kerry footballer Paul Galvin and The Brand Geeks, Killorglin.”