Cork’s youngest “heroes” joined forces with the City Fire Brigade on Friday to launch this year’s campaign in aid of the Mercy Hospital’s Kids & Teens appeal.
Noah, Denis, Darragh and Calvin, who are all patients at the Mercy University Hospital, joined Probationer Firefighters from Cork City Fire Brigade for a very special fundraiser on Friday 16 September, as the new recruits completed a bucket collection around Cork city as they pushed and pulled a vintage fire truck, finishing at the Mercy University Hospital.
Details of “Mercy Heroes 2022” were also announced on the day, which will take place on Friday, 21st October to help support the youngest patients at the Mercy Hospital.
Funds raised through “Mercy Heroes” will go towards the Mercy Kids & Teens Appeal and will support services like POONS (Paediatric Oncology Outreach Nursing Service).
This service, the only one of its kind in Ireland, allows children with cancer to receive vital treatment in the comfort of their own home.
POONS has provided immeasurable support for some of Cork’s youngest patients and their families over the last number of years, with 45 families using the service in 2021 alone.
On October 21st, by participating in “Mercy Heroes”, you can help fund POONS by making a donation online at www.mercyhospitalfoundation.ie, or by joining forces with your friends, family or colleagues to host a coffee morning.
Schools around Cork are also being encouraged to join in the fun by holding a Dress Up/Dress Down Day to support these young heroes.
Noah, Denis, Darragh and Calvin are the faces of “Mercy Heroes” this year, and are asking everyone to get involved on 21 October and become a Mercy Hero too.
Noah O’Gorman from Whitegate, who turns 3 this month, is currently receiving treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) at the Mercy Hospital.
Noah’s dad, Tristan O’Gorman, said that having POONS drastically cuts down on the amount of travel in and out to hospital.
“As Noah is so young, he is more comfortable getting treated at home and it cuts down on the risk of exposure to more infections in the hospital. For Noah’s mum, Deirdre and me, getting treatment in the community like this helps their family life continue as normally as possible,” he said.
“And, Noah is a big fan of Peg and Olga, the POONS nurses! They try to normalise the treatment so that Noah isn't affected by it and he can just get on with the business of being a busy two year old boy,” he added.
In 2021, the Mercy POONS nurses travelled 23,654 kilometres to provide 550 home visits to families. It costs the Mercy Hospital Foundation €30,000 each year to continue to keep this service mobile.
Olga Buckley, Paediatric Oncology/ Haematology CNS at The Mercy said that 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.
Paschal McCarthy, CEO of the Mercy University Hospital Foundation emphasised how support for campaigns like Mercy Heroes can make such a difference in people’s lives.
“For the past nine years, the Mercy Hospital Foundation has proudly provided funding for POONS. We are continually reminded of the impact this service has on families, and why it is essential that we continue to fund and support these very special children and their families,” he said, giving special thanks to Third Officer Ger Ryan and the Class of 2021/2022 recruits of Cork City Fire Brigade for helping to launch “Mercy Heroes 2022” with their vintage engine push.
“This October, anyone can become a “Mercy Hero”, and any donation, big or small, will help make a huge difference,” he said.