Interagency response with a difference: Blue light parade for Cork boy's birthday celebration

Interagency response with a difference: Blue light parade for Cork boy's birthday celebration

Michael Barry from Blarney who celebrated his 8th Birthday on Friday, pictured with his mother Orla Christian, Cork City Civil Defence volunteer Tony O'Donoghue, and his dog Hansel from My Canine Companion.

A Cork boy born with a rare genetic condition was treated to a blue parade from various emergency services in the city on his birthday.

Michael Barry from Blarney was treated to an interagency response with a difference organised by the Little Blue Heroes Foundation when An Garda Síochána, Cork City Civil Defence, Cork City Fire Service and the National Ambulance Service took part in a blue light parade on Friday to mark his 8th birthday.

The parade passed by his home allowing him and his mother Orla Christian to enjoy the parade of vehicles from the comfort of their front yard.

Little Blue Heroes Foundation which provides financial aid to support its Little Blue Heroes subject to available funding, would normally, where possible, grant short breaks for Little Blue Heroes families who would not normally get a chance to take a family holiday, bringing four families each year to the Aran Islands.

Volunteers would also, under the approval of hospital management and with the consent of parents, check in when possible on any of the Little Blue Heroes who may be staying in hospital for long periods of time for moral support and a friendly chat.

With current Covid-19 restrictions, some of its services have been put on hold but that didn’t stop the charity from making a special effort to celebrate one of its Little Blue Heroes’ birthdays.

Ms Christian said that Michael “absolutely loved” receiving the special surprise from the various agencies across Cork city.

She said that Michael is “doing really well” and is currently taking part in online learning while temporarily out of the classroom due to Covid-19.

Michael Barry from Blarney celebrated his 8th Birthday with an interagency blue light parade.
Michael Barry from Blarney celebrated his 8th Birthday with an interagency blue light parade.

“Winter is here and he's not sick or in the hospital because he's not in school. I've temporarily taken him out of school and he’s taking part in online school right now. He’s doing really well overall,” she said.

Michael was born with a rare genetic condition called Aqueduct Stenosis which resulted in him suffering from hydrocephalus, a buildup of fluid in the ventricles of the brain.

He also has plagiocephaly as a direct result of the buildup of the fluid in his brain which caused the plates of his skull to misshapen, having to have his first surgery where a VP shunt was put in place to drain the fluid from his brain at just five days old.

This buildup of fluid also left Michael with global developmental delays and epilepsy which is controlled by medication.

To his delight, in October 2018 during a visit to Garda HQ in Dublin, he was made an honorary member of An Garda Síochána and has since enjoyed various visits from members of An Garda Síochána as well as outings to the annual national Emergency Services Day.

National Ambulance Service Community Engagement Officer Ger O’Dea said he was “delighted to be part of Honorary Garda Michael’s birthday celebrations” and said that the response from various agencies “gives great context as to what Little Blue Heroes Foundation is able to achieve”.

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