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Community rally to save Alannah’s sight

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GRATEFUL: Parents Geraldine Dunleavy and Andrew Foley, pictured with one-year-old Adam and four-year-old Alannah, are grateful to the community for their support as Alannah undergoes weekly chemotherapy.

By Michelle Crean

The Killorglin community are rallying to help a local family whose little girl is facing chemotherapy to help save her sight.

Four-year-old Alannah Foley is facing weekly trips to Dublin after being diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1), a condition that can cause benign tumours to grow on nerve tissue. In order halt the growth and stop it pressing on her vision her mom Geraldine Dunleavy and dad Andrew Foley are facing weekly trips to Tralee every Thursday to University Hospital Kerry for blood tests followed by a long trip to Dublin each Friday.

Originally Alannah and her family were to make the trip to Cork for the treatment but due to her first round taking place the day of the cyberattack they couldn't get their scheduled appointments at the Mercy Hospital.
And facing the cost of travel to Dublin which will last over over a year, their good friend Kevin Sheehan set up the GoFundMe: 'Alannah and Polly's Fight for Sight' page which has so far raised over €12,000 of the €20,000 goal.

At five-months-old Alannah's parents noticed marks on her body called Cafe au Lait stains, indicators of an underlying illness.

After a trip to the GP they were referred to a neurologist in January 2019. And over that summer Alannah started to appear wobbly and dizzy. She was referred to Cork from her GP and two days later had an MRI which was diagnosed as a tumour which had a build up fluid on her brain. After further testing it turned out to be benign and she was fitted with a shunt to drain the fluid away from her brain down through her stomach. Her parents were advised that the best course of action was to watch and wait.

"We were stunned. It meant trips to Dublin every three months for eye exams, then 10 days later MRIs and 10 days after that travelling up for the results," her mom Geraldine told the Killarney Advertiser.

"When she had her last eye exam they felt it was impacting on her eyesight and opted for chemo."

Andrew, a chef, works as the deli manager in Keane's SuperValu in Killorglin and Geraldine works in childcare part-time. They also have a one-year-old son called Adam.

"we're only at the start of it really," she said. "Polly, Alannah's port, got fitted the day of the cyber attack which meant she could not be put on the system in the Mercy Hospital."

The couple, who live in Lynch Heights, head to Dublin every Friday leaving home at 5.30am and it's a late journey home as they get stuck in evening traffic. With the cost of travel and other expenses, Kevin opted to help out.

Geraldine said that she and fiancee Andrew are overwhelmed by the support of the community.

"We're blown away by the support we've received. People keep stopping and asking us how she is and the kindness has been overwhelming."

They're hoping Alannah will be finished her treatment successfully by August or September 2022 before she starts Junior Infants.

"She's a trouper. She does get tired over the weekend and struggles a bit after the treatment but she ends every day with a smile on her face."

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Massive Park Road housing development given green light

A private developer has been given planning permission to build 249 new residential units at Upper Park Road. The development, which will be built on a recently cleared site near […]

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A private developer has been given planning permission to build 249 new residential units at Upper Park Road.

The development, which will be built on a recently cleared site near An Post’s sorting office, will include a variety of properties from five-bed houses to single apartments, along with a crèche and over 500 car spaces and over 300 bike spaces.

The development has been welcomed by local councillor Martin Grady.

“Killarney has a massive housing shortage so this is very positive. It will retain young families in the area, stimulating economic growth,” he said. “After 17 years of different planning applications it’s finally coming to fruition.”

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Ballydribeen residents living in fear due to anti-social behaviour

Residents in the Ballydribeen are living in fear as a result of increased anti-social behaviour in the estate. Several serious incidents in the estate have resulted in several Garda visits […]

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Residents in the Ballydribeen are living in fear as a result of increased anti-social behaviour in the estate.

Several serious incidents in the estate have resulted in several Garda visits in the last week.

Local councillor Martin Grady told the Killarney Advertiser that residents are “living in fear” as a result of very serious incidents in the last week alone.

One house in the estate was badly damaged when fire crackers were placed inside a letter box.

Another house had its windows smashed in over the weekend.

“It’s a major problem,” added Grady after meeting residents there earlier this week.

One of the most serious incidents occurred on Tuesday night.

A passing motorists had rocks thrown at his car while driving along the bypass whch is adjacent to the estate.
Taking to social media, local primary-school teacher Pádraig O’Sullivan posted:

“Travelling home tonight, at 11.05pm on the Killarney side of the bypass our car was hit by a rock – not a pebble – from the Ballydribben side , which hit the passenger door.

“It was centimetres away from hitting the window where my father, who is visually impaired, was sitting.

“This could have caused catastrophic permanent injury to him.

“The Killarney Garda were on the scene within three minutes.

“They can’t be patrolling the bypass all night.

“It comes down to parenting. You should know where your children are at this hour and be able to teach them what’s funny and what ruin a person’s life or cause a fatal crash.“

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