A WIDOWED Cork mother is appealing to the public to donate to the Children’s Medical and Research Foundation (CMRF) in Crumlin to help some of Ireland’s sickest children over the Christmas period.
Susan O’Sullivan has two daughters — Aoife who was born with a serious heart condition, and Ciara Jane, who was born with Down syndrome.
Two weeks before Aoife turned one, Susan’s husband, Gerard, passed away.
Susan said that having a sick child, especially over the Christmas period, is one of the most difficult things for a family to go through.
The mother said that the support she received from CMRF Crumlin during one of the worst periods of her life was outstanding and she is keen to raise awareness of the vital funding required over the Christmas period to help sick children at Crumlin Hospital.
“When I was pregnant with Aoife we found out she had Shone’s Complex, a serious heart condition,” Susan said.
“To be honest, the journey with my two little angels hasn’t been easy. Aoife was born in Dublin and was taken to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin within an hour.
“They monitored her in Crumlin and she had her heart surgery two days after she was born. She was a fantastic weight which stood to her in the operation but still a tiny little thing.
“I was in a different hospital recovering after having her and they were trying to keep me calm as my husband had been warned by me to stay by her side no matter what.
“Because I was on medication I think the enormity of the operation went over my head at the time.”
Aoife was Susan’s first child, and Susan says she was long awaited.
“We had given up hope after nearly 10 years of trying. You’re nervous as a parent anyway and with Aoife’s heart we were especially worried,” Susan said.
“After her surgery, her wound got infected and there was a strong possibility she might need more surgery to heal it. She hasn’t needed surgery since the first operation.
“Aoife does have a mass under her heart, but it hasn’t grown or changed. If it doesn’t change they won’t perform surgery on that and they’re monitoring her every year in Crumlin, which is such a comfort.
“We visit the heart centre during our trips to Crumlin so Aoife can see her favourite people in there and whom we always refer to as her ‘Dublin Mammys’.”
Susan said that Aoife and Ciara Jane are firm friends and make a great team.
“Aoife is so great with her little sister, Ciara Jane, who was born three weeks early with Down Syndrome. They’re such a team and they really look out for each other.
“They even have their private conversations using sign language because Ciara Jane is non-verbal at the moment.
“Aoife and Ciara-Jane are my world. They’re everything to me. Everything.”
One in 100 children are born with a structural heart defect.
CMRF Crumlin is calling on the public to support the almost 11,000 children visiting the hospital over the Christmas period by donating whatever they can on cmrf.org/donate