THREE youngsters from West Cork are calling on the people of Cork to raise funds for the Mercy Hospital’s paediatric oncology services.
They are Lizzie O’Shea, Castletownbere; Callum McCarthy from Nohoval and Conor Wills from Ballincollig, who are all patients at the Mercy University Hospital
Lizzie, aged five, was diagnosed with leukemia in 2017 and has benefited from the Paediatric Oncology Outreach Nursing Service (POONS) which allows children with cancer to receive treatment from the comfort of their own home
Her mum Fiona Kelly, a local GP, said: ‘The POONS resource has been such a fantastic help since Lizzie became ill and we are so grateful to have this support. Being a GP in the remote Beara Peninsula, it can be very difficult for me to find locum GPs when having to make frequent hospital visits with Lizzie so having the Mercy’s POONS team come to us when they can has relieved so much pressure.’
The POONS resource is the only service of its kind in Ireland which provides at home cancer care treatment for children and covers a large geographical area from Youghal to Bantry, and Mitchelstown to Kinsale, as well as some areas in surrounding counties, so that all children have access to this service regardless of their location.
Alice McCarthy is mum to six-year old Callum who was diagnosed with leukemia in 2018: ‘When Callum was first diagnosed with cancer in 2018, we spent two weeks in Crumlin which was very tough but once it was possible for Callum to be treated at the Mercy, it really highlighted how lucky we are to have a leukemia unit at the Mercy University Hospital in Cork. The POONS resource has been such a huge support, especially with helping to normalise family life during cancer treatment for Callum.’
Lorraine Wills, mum to six- year old Conor is encouraging everyone to get involved with 2019 Mercy Heroes: ‘What the Mercy’s POONS nurses Peg and Olga do is phenomenal and you can’t put a price on it. When you have a sick child, the last thing you want to do is bring them into a hospital where their already low immunity could be further compromised. Their visits also allow us parents to ask questions which offers huge reassurance. Even from a mental health perspective, their answers and reassurance are immediate and this relieves a lot of pressure. I hope as many people as possible can support the Mercy Heroes this October, allowing them to continue to support children and families affected by cancer across Cork. ”
To help raise funds for POONS, the Mercy Hospital Foundation is inviting people of all ages and from all walks of life to join in the fun on October 18th.
Whether you’re planning a Dress Up/Dress Down Day at work or school, a coffee morning at home or at your local club, or helping out with Mercy street collections around the county, there’s a way to get involved.
Register at www.mercyfundraising.ie and you will receive a free ‘Mercy Heroes’ pack full of information and ideas.