Cork public asked to become 'Mercy Heroes' to support kids with cancer to be treated at home

Cork public asked to become 'Mercy Heroes' to support kids with cancer to be treated at home

Three year old Calvin Mulryan from from Ballyvolane, Cork, is one of the Mercy Hospital's youngest heroes.

SOME of the Mercy Hospital’s youngest patients are calling on members of the public to become ‘Mercy Heroes’ and help raise vital funds for the hospital’s Kids and Teens Appeal this month.

The appeal, which takes place on October 22, calls on supporters to donate directly to the Mercy Hospital Foundation or create their own fundraisers, such as coffee mornings or school dress up days. Funds raised will support services like the hospital’s paediatric oncology outreach nursing service, known as POONS, which allows children with cancer to receive treatment at home.

The Mercy POONS nurses travelled 34,826km last year to support 45 families in Cork, including the family of three-year-old Calvin Mulryan from Ballyvolane, who is currently receiving treatment for leukemia.

“We are so grateful for services like POONS. Even though Calvin loves seeing all the staff on the ward when he goes to the Mercy, it is a huge help to be able to receive some of his treatment at home,” said Calvin’s mum Emma Galway. “Getting to cut back on the number of hospital visits and instead have the POONS nurses come to our home has helped to bring a little bit of normality back into our lives.”

Paediatric oncology and haematology clinical nurse specialist Olga Buckley said the service has become “absolutely necessary” for children like Calvin since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

“Being able to deliver a home-based option to sick children has helped enhance their quality of life and allowed for some normalisation of family life during cancer treatment,” she said. 

“Our young cancer patients are considered within the critically vulnerable group as their treatment causes immunosuppression. POONS helps to cut back on the amount of time these patients need to spend in the hospital.”

Some of the young ‘heroes’ who use the service, including Calvin, have created a video to support the appeal which is being shared online. “We can see, each year, the impact this service has on families. Covid-19 has placed an even greater demand on the service as these patients are amongst the most vulnerable in our community,” said Mercy Hosptial Foundation CEO Paschal McCarthy. “Any donation, big or small, will help make a huge difference.”

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