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Killarney pupil left waiting almost two years for life-changing surgery

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URGENT: Ronan Foley, pictured with his dad Tony, mom Caroline and brother Gavin, has been waiting more than 20 months to have an urgent operation to correct a 90 degree curve in his spine. Photo: Michelle Crean

By Michelle Crean

 

The angry parents of young boy who has a painful 90 degree curvature of the spine have this week hit out against the Government to stop delaying his vital surgery.

Tony and Caroline Foley, whose 14-year-old son has just finished up at St Oliver’s National School, say that Ronan has been waiting 20 months for the life-changing operation and is in constant pain every single day as dates for his surgery keep being put off - even though the former Minister for Health, Simon Harris, said no child should wait more than four months for it.

On Saturday, TD Michael Healy-Rae raised the issue in the Dáil, but Ronan's parents say they’re still none the wiser as to when it will go ahead.

“We’re angry because of all this waiting,” Tony told the Killarney Advertiser.

“Ronan’s personality is not as bright as it used to be because he’s in such pain.”

In 2018 Ronan had a curvature of the spine which was at 42 degrees and according to Tony this "disimproved” significantly to 79 degrees within a short space of time. He is in pain everyday and can only sit up for short periods to eat. His family have to make frequent stops during travel to appointments in Crumlin hospital to give Ronan a chance to move to alleviate his pain.

Surgery would change his life and help free him of pain, Tony explained.

“We were told that he was a priority for surgery within three or four months in October 2018. We’re nearly two years now and still there’s no date for surgery. His March 12 date was cancelled due to the Coronavirus situation but I don’t think it would have gone ahead anyway as we were waiting for a cardiologist appointment. As of now we have no date whatsoever. We’re getting no answers and we’re having to advocate for ourselves.”

Ronan was due to leave St Oliver’s NS last year but due to the March appointment for surgery, they kept him back which was another upsetting factor in the whole debacle as Ronan had to see his friends move on. Now Tony says it was all for nothing.

“The staff in the school have been amazing and so have our community.”

And he added that they are a private family, but have had no choice but to put themselves in the public eye to push the powers that be into helping their child.

“We are also very angry having to put ourselves out there in public. We have to do it for Ronan - you’d die for your children.”

Michael Healy-Rae raises Ronan's case in the Dáil

"What I want from the incoming Government is that I do not want it to leave people behind. I will give an example of what it is to leave people behind, and with the permission of himself and his family, I will raise the case of young Ronan Foley from Dungeel in Killorglin. I want each and every Member of this Dáil, the new Minister for Health, and the new Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, to remember this case. He is lying today in pain with a 90° curve on his spine. He has been waiting more than 20 months for an operation the outgoing Minister for Health said no child should wait any more than four months for. This is a tragedy and a travesty, and I do not want this Government to leave people like Ronan Foley behind. I want people like him to have an operation when they need it."

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Killarney woman completes every parkrun in the country

By Sean Moriarty A Killarney woman has entered the record books after completing every parkrun in the country – and more. There are one hundred open parkruns in Ireland and […]

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By Sean Moriarty

A Killarney woman has entered the record books after completing every parkrun in the country – and more.

There are one hundred open parkruns in Ireland and a further three that take place behind closed doors in prisons and in health institutions and Majella Moloney has completed all of them.

On Saturday last she completed the Irish list by finishing the Borrisokane run in County Offaly.

She was inspired to take up parkruns by her work colleague Stephen Byrne after suffering a personal crisis in 2017.

“It is so good for my mental health, I can’t explain the feel good factor,” she told the Killarney Advertiser. “My personal circumstances changed dramatically in January 2017 and I needed to do something for my mental health.”

She has also done parkruns all over Europe; in total she has participated in 178 runs in countries like Britain, Germany, Poland and Italy.

She has also volunteered for 180 parkruns, often acting as ‘tail walker’ on the event she had entered.

In March this year Majella completed her parkrun Alphabet Challenge by participating in a parkrun in 26 different cities – one for each letter – York in England and Zielona Góra in Western Poland were the two most difficult letters to tick off.

“parkrun has helped me so much,” she added, “I have made friends all over the world.”

Later this year she will join her English friends Don and Sue Esslemont on a parkrun in Britain.

“Sue is doing her 500th walk this year. I first met them in Buncrana [County Donegal] and they encouraged me to travel to more events – it is one big family.”

She also paid tribute to Bertie and Bairbre Hickey from Tralee who have joined her on over 20 runs across Ireland.

SIDEBAR

A new parkrun for four to 14-year-olds has been launched in Killarney.

The first local junior parkrun will take place in Killarney House and Gardens on Sunday at 9.30am.

“Tralee has been holding junior parkruns for a while now but this is a first for Killarney,” Majella said.

The adult Killarney parkrun will take place as usual on Saturdays.

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Students awarded for their contribution to school life

By Michelle Crean Students were honoured for their contribution to school life this week during a special end of year awards ceremony. Held in the school gym on Wednesday afternoon, […]

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By Michelle Crean

Students were honoured for their contribution to school life this week during a special end of year awards ceremony.

Held in the school gym on Wednesday afternoon, the students from St Brigid’s Presentation were presented with a variety of awards from sport to science, music and visual art while Sixth Year student Saoirse Coffey received the Orla Benson Award.

“During this school year, our students have showcased their brilliance and extensive talents,” teacher Adrienne Brosnan, said.

“We are all so proud of these outstanding achievements across all aspects of school life. Awards day is a truly special occasion for all members of the St Brigid’s community and one which we relish the opportunity to celebrate. It is a time of anticipation, a time of excitement and a time of great joy. The awards that are presented are a testament to that dedication and we also acknowledge all the great work that is done by the teachers here in St Brigid’s.”

Sixth Year students also said their final goodbyes ahead of their State exams next month.

“We wish them the best of luck as they spread their wings and leave the shelter of St Brigid’s for the beginning of a new adventure.”

AWARD WINNERS

Other awards winners were:

Anna Dunlea received the Contribution to Graphics award while Leah Vinluan got the Design and Communication Graphics award.

Clodagh O’Connor and Sarah O’Sullivan both received the Contribution to Visual Art award.

Abbie Finan was awarded Soccer: Player of the Year, Chloe Hue Senior Football: Player of the Year, Emily Buckley 1st Year Football: Player of the Year, Abbey Cronin 2nd Year Football: Player of the Year, and Andrea Murphy Junior Football; Player of the Year, Senior Basketball: Most Valued Player went to Tara Donnellan, the Minor Basketball: Most Valued Player was given to Ciara O’Sullivan and the Cadette Basketball: Most Valued Player went to Leah McMahon.

Kara Huggard earned herself the LCA Student of the Year, Sarah McGrath received the CEIST Award, Excellence in Science was awarded to Emma Myers and Jennie O’Mahony, while Rita Akhter received the Overall Contribution to STEM.

Bríd O’Connor who wrote the book Spark presented Saoirse O’Sullivan with the Outstanding Achievements in Music award.

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