THERE were joyous scenes in Cork airport as a 82-strong contingent from Cork prepared to jet off for several days of fun at Disneyland Paris.
Organised by the Cork City Hospital Children’s Club, the trip is an annual event organised for deserving children children who have come to the attention of the club through attendance at CUH or been referred to them.
This years group comprises 46 children aged between four and 17, plus nine parents and 27 additional carers and medics. Many of those going along to help are staff of the CUH.
Avril Corcoran from Togher works in the emergency department at the hospital and has been secretary of the club for the last three years.
This is her fifth trip and she said it is hard work but hugely rewarding.
“It would really open your eyes to what some children and their families are dealing with. The families get a lot out of it and just to see the smiles on the children’s faces, it is fantastic.
“Plus the adults get to see their children enjoying themselves and forgetting their illnesses for a few days.
“It is really rewarding.”
Evan Hennessy from Youghal is 12 next week and travelling to Paris with mum Lynsey. He was nominated for the trip by an SNA is his school, Bunscoil Mhuire in Youghal.
“We didn’t know anything about it until we heard she had nominated him and he was chosen. She just said he always gets on with everything and never looks for attention and she thought it would be nice for him to get a place on the trip.”
Evan has been looking forward to the trip and to telling his siblings all about it when he gets home.
Matthew Connolly from Carrigaline is 10 and nervous but excited about his first trip without his family.
“He is a little bit anxious but he has met the carer and the team who are going to look after him and the excitement is definitely growing. He has been to Barretstown with his sister for a sibling camp but this is his first trip on his own.
“We only found out last Monday that a place had become available, he was put forward for it by his specialist in the CUH, Dr Brian Fraser. The team have been so reassuring, and Matthew is free to call us.”
Matthew has juvenile arthritis and has been cared for in both CUH and Crumlin Children’s hospital since he was six. Fiona Murphy from Lissarda will be his carer for the trip, it will be her third time travelling with the group.
“I’m a nurse in A&E in CUH so met (Club founder) John Looney through there and joined up. I love every minute of it, it is amazing. It is tiring but so rewarding. Just to see the kids make friends and to see all age groups mingle, everyone has a good time. There is always some part that each child loves.
"Last year I had a boy in a wheelchair and by the second day I didn’t have to push him anywhere, because other kids, the friends he had made, were bringing him. They all had of together and it is like they forget about everything.”