A CORK couple whose baby girl was born three weeks ago with a hole in her heart are hoping the kindness of friends and family will help other sick kids.
Stephen and Karen Dorney welcomed their third child, Allie, into the world on August 6 in Dublin.
She was born with a number of medical complications which were diagnosed during pregnancy.
“At 25 weeks, Allie was diagnosed with a very serious heart condition along with other medical issues,” mum Karen told The Echo.
“I had to give birth in the Coombe Hospital in Dublin in order for all the medical professionals needed for Allie’s birth to be present,” Karen explained.
“We were told Allie would need to have surgery in the first few days of her life in order to survive.”
After Allie was born, weighing six pounds three ounces, she was whisked off to Crumlin Hospital to prepare for surgery.
Karen had to stay at the Coombe for five days recovering from the birth, but she visited Allie every day in Crumlin.
Little Allie was six days old when she had her surgery.
“It went as well as it could have gone,” Karen said.
“She spent six days in the intensive care unit and now she is back in a ward in Crumlin Hospital. They are working on getting her weight up.”
Stephen and Karen are staying at the Ronald McDonald House while their two older children, Jake, aged six, and Ayda, aged four, are staying with grandparents here in Cork.
Karen said that knowing what was ahead for baby Allie while pregnant helped her to prepare for the chaos of Allie’s early days.
“Allie was diagnosed at 25 weeks. It was the worst few months of my life, but it helped me to prepare for everything,” said Karen.
“We were brought up to Coombe and Crumlin, introduced to pediatricians. We saw the ICU and they showed us other babies with similar stories.
“It was horrific but it was better to be prepared.”
After Allie was born, Stephen’s friends organised a fundraiser at the Tramore Athletic club, which Stephen is a member of, to raise funds to show support for the family.
Karen said the support her family and friends have offered over the past few weeks has been overwhelming and both their employers have also been very accommodating.
“Stephen works at SR Technics, I work at Clearstream and both have been unbelievable.
“Everyone has been amazing, so many people getting in touch offering support or to mind the kids. We have been overwhelmed by the kindness of people. It really makes you see how people come together and shows you how nice people can be.”
Karen said that the small fundraiser began to grow, with people donating prizes for the raffle and asking how to donate.
“I was in shock. It is so nice to see. It makes you realise all the lovely friends and family around you.”
Stephen and Karen then decided to donate the proceeds of the upcoming fundraiser to Crumlin Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House.
“We would have been lost without Crumlin Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House.
“Everyone at the hospital has been so good to Allie and The Ronald McDonald House have been amazing.”
The Ronald McDonald House provides accommodation and a caring and supportive environment for families whose children are seriously ill and are hospitalised or undergoing medical treatment at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin.
“You don’t know until you are here all the work that they do,” Karen said.
“Volunteers come in every day and cook meals for families. It means so much when you are so far from home to come into a nice clean place to stay with a hot meal. It just makes life easier when you are away from your home and your family and friends.”
The fundraising soccer match is taking place at Tramore Park at 4pm on Saturday, next August 31, with a raffle after in the South County Bar. All are welcome to come along and get involved.
For more information search Tramoreathletic AFC Cork on Facebook.