In his mum Róisín’s own words, she feels “incredibly lucky” to see her four-year-old son Tommy getting back to his old self after a devastating cancer diagnosis.
Róisín says it all happened very quickly in Tommy’s case.
When he was just a toddler, he began to show signs of what was thought to be a viral illness, which deteriorated to the point he had difficulty breathing.
Róisín sought medical assistance, and ended up spending time in three hospitals before a diagnosis was eventually confirmed – acute myeloid leukaemia.
“He was very sick, so much so they didn’t think he would make it through his first round of chemo,” recalls Róisín.
“He ended up being in hospital for almost a year, starting with eight weeks in ICU. It was such a hard road.”
Aside from the strain of having a child going through cancer treatment, Róisín remembers the “huge” expense involved. The family’s lives were put on hold to be by Tommy’s side in Dublin.
“I would never have thought about the expenses involved with going in and out of hospital before that. Nobody really knows about it until you go through it. You have your bills at home that you have to deal with as well.
“We were given the Irish Cancer Society Children’s Fund payment. It helped hugely: every little bit helps when you’re going through a situation like that,” says Róisín, whose family also received great support from their local community in Ratoath, Co. Meath.
Having been through such an ordeal, Róisín is amazed by the resilience shown by her young son.
“He’s in remission now and he’s doing fantastic. He’s flying.
“He smiled the whole way through all his treatment. He lets absolutely nothing faze him, he just gets on with it. We’re so lucky to have him here.”
"We were given the Irish Cancer Society Children’s Fund payment. It helped hugely: every little bit helps when you’re going through a situation like that,” says Róisín.
After coming this far, Róisín says Tommy was delighted to be able to visit the Irish Cancer Society’s camp at Barretstown last year and enjoy some freedom with other children.
“Tommy has three brothers and a sister. Getting away for a couple of days really lifted their spirits, and it was packed with fun: it’s an amazing experience. Everything about it is fantastic,” says Róisín, who reveals that Tommy is ‘mad to get away from his mammy’ at the next camp having thankfully had his tracheostomy removed in the meantime.
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