Cork boy and his 'best friend' granny replicate cancelled cruise in their backyard

Cork boy and his 'best friend' granny replicate cancelled cruise in their backyard
Ryan Gregan with his grandmother Marie Piper-Gregan.

A KID with a serious heart condition who was due to embark on a cruise today is now setting off on a very different trip of a lifetime courtesy of his granny.

Brave 10-year-old Ryan Gregan was looking forward to his trip on The Anthem of the Seas to see Paris with his granny - and best friend in the world - Marie Piper-Gregan. Over the years, Marie has taken her outgoing grandson all over the world to create as many memories as possible.

This year’s holiday might not be possible, but that hasn’t stopped her from creating her own Anthem of the Seas experience at home. The pair will still be packing their bags in the knowledge that it doesn’t matter where they are as long as everyone is together.

Marie is pulling out all the stops today to ensure their simulation cruise is as magical as possible. She is even planning a buffet just like the one they enjoy in their so-called Anthem of the Seas haunt the Windjammer Market Place. The pair will don shorts and t-shirts and bedeck the garden with Anthem of the Seas souvenirs collected over the years. Photos even reveal how they created their own check-in desk.

Ryan is confined to his home in Crosshaven full-time due to issues with his heart.

Since birth he had a number of congenital heart defects including two holes and two missing chambers. Doctors initially thought his life would only last two hours.

“Ryan has brought us joy and taught us the value of life because of the times he wasn’t meant to survive.

"In our imagination we will be on this cruise ship. The only difference is we will be sailing the garden instead of the seas. You have to have a world where you can believe. That’s what today is going to be - a day of make belief. We have to accept what we have now and make the most of it.“ 

Ryan lives with his grandmother, father and uncle who he can now bring with him on the make-believe trip.

“If anyone gets wind of us packing our bags we’ll be arrested,” Marie laughed.

Ryan Gregan with his grandmother Marie Piper-Gregan.
Ryan Gregan with his grandmother Marie Piper-Gregan.

Due to the serious nature of his condition Ryan had to isolate a week before the rest of the Irish population.

Marie has been doing everything she can to keep his spirits up and says he never complains.

“He fully understands the situation,” she said of the pandemic. “When he first heard the news on the radio that this was spreading around the world he was terrified. He was asking questions like 'will I get it?' and 'will I die from it?' Anytime he heard of someone dying from it, he was scared. He used to get upset when the other kids at school spoke about it.” Ryan has been assured by his granny that he is safe at home.

“He always says to me 'we will go on a cruise next year?' He knows that the important thing now is that everyone stays healthy. Even if the ship was there and we had a choice Ryan still wouldn’t get on it, because he knows the risk it involves.” Ryan’s father Darren has made a number of sacrifices to ensure Ryan's safety and put his job driving trucks on hold.

Marie said: “He made the decision when this broke not to work for a while so that Ryan wouldn't be put at risk. At first I thought that he was blowing everything out of proportion but now I realise that he did the right thing. We need to do everything we can to keep each other safe."

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