Some of Cork’s youngest “heroes”, Alex, Oisín, Cormac, Alannah and Calvin, are all patients at the Mercy University Hospital and this October they need your support for their latest mission, ‘Mercy Heroes.’
The mission, should you choose to accept it, is to become a ‘Mercy Hero’.
Taking place on Friday, 22nd October, Mercy Heroes aims to raise funds for the Mercy Kids & Teens Appeal to support the youngest patients at the Mercy Hospital.
Funds raised for the Mercy Kids & Teens Appeal 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, helping to cut back on hospital visits and provide support to families during such a difficult time.
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 2020 alone.
One such family is that of 3 year old Calvin Mulryan, who is currently receiving treatment for Leukemia at the Mercy Hospital. Speaking about their experience, Calvin’s mom, Emma Galway, said: '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. 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.'
The Covid-19 pandemic has made this service even more vital for these patients. Speaking about its importance Olga Buckley, Paediatric Oncology/ Haematology CNS at The Mercy said: '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.
'With the emergence of Covid-19 in Ireland, it has become absolutely necessary. Our young cancer patients are considered within the critically vulnerable group as their treatment, including chemotherapy, causes immunosuppression. POONS helps to cut back on the amount of time these patients need to spend in the hospital and gives them the opportunity to receive their treatment at home.'
In 2020, the Mercy POONS nurses travelled 34,826 kilometres to provide an incredible 726 home visits to families. It costs the Mercy Hospital Foundation €30,000 each year to continue to keep this service mobile.
On Mercy Heroes Day on October 22nd, you can help them to do just that by making a donation online at www.mercyhospitalfoundation.ie or by joining forces with your friends, family or colleagues to host a virtual or in-person 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.
Paschal McCarthy, CEO of the Mercy University Hospital Foundation emphasized how support for campaigns like Mercy Heroes can make such a difference in people’s lives.
'For the past eight years, The Mercy University Hospital Foundation has proudly provided funding for POONS. 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. This year, anyone can become a ‘Mercy Hero’. Any donation, big or small, will help make a huge difference.'
If you would like to become a ‘Mercy Hero’ this October, sign up at www.mercyhospitalfoundation.ie, where you can also hear from some of Cork’s youngest heroes about the difference your support will make. And to set up your own ‘Mercy Heroes’ fundraising page, visit www.justgiving.com/campaign/MercyHeroes21.
For more information or to get involved, visit www.mercyhospitalfoundation.ie or contact Deirdre on 085 8745489.