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Ronan’s operation finally gets the goes ahead



AT LONG LAST: Yesterday (Thursday) Ronan Foley finally had his spinal operation after waiting almost three years.


"He'll have a lovely Christmas now"

By Michelle Crean

It took almost three years - but yesterday (Thursday) was a day the family of Ronan Foley will never forget - as the 15-year-old finally had his life-changing spinal operation.

Described as "the best Christmas present" they "could have ever asked for", Ronan's father Tony told the Killarney Advertiser that "it's a major relief" to now be on the other side and that it'll mean huge changes to Ronan's quality of life going forward.

After waiting two years, eight months and 25 days in constant pain with his spine progressively getting worse until eventually it reached a 90 degree curve - it was a long day for Ronan and his family as the operation began at 9am and lasted until the early evening.

Tony and his wife Caroline Foley had fought hard publicly for the last year to help get a surgery date for their son after it was cancelled on more than one occasion.

"It will be his first pain free Christmas in years," Tony said.
"He's waiting nearly three years. We're delighted and it's a major relief, he was a long-time waiting."


The former St Oliver’s National School pupil can look forward to a new start back in school in 2021 and spending quality time with his friends once he has healed.

"We're hoping he'll be home by next weekend but hopefully maybe sooner. The operation now means he will be able to sit up for as long as he wants without being in pain. He can go back to St Francis Special School. He had no quality of life at school or with his friends, for example he couldn't go to the cinema as he was in too much pain. He'd tire easily. He was always energetic and this was wearing him down. He'll have a lovely Christmas now as he'll be well on the road to recovery."



Valuable role of Kerry cancer support charity recognised nationally



Cancer support charity Recovery Haven Kerry has been recognised for its vital role in supporting cancer patients and their families at a national ceremony in Dublin.

The renowned cancer support house was one of 16 such centres across Ireland that were presented with plaques to acknowledge their full membership of the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) Alliance – a group made up of voluntary and charity organisations delivering support services directly to cancer patients and their families. An additional 10 associate member charities were also honoured, including Kerry Cancer Support Group.

The Alliance advocates for, and supports, the development of integrated pathways between the cancer centres, acute hospitals, community cancer support services and primary care services. All members’ development is in line with the values of Sláintecare, seeking to provide assurance to healthcare professionals that these organisations are working to an agreed standard as set out in Best Practice Guidance published by the NCCP. 

Speaking after the ceremony, which was held at Dublin’s Farmleigh Estate, Recovery Haven Kerry Chairman, Tim McSwiney, explained that being compliant with the Best Practice Guidance for Community Cancer Support Centres is a true mark of quality. 

“It offers us a yardstick to measure what we are doing against the standards required. As a result, healthcare professionals have more confidence in referring people to our services. We are very proud to be a member of the Alliance,” he said.

Recovery Haven Kerry was represented at the event by centre manager, Gemma Fort and Client Services Co-Ordinator, Siobhan MacSweeney and were presented with their plaque by NCCP Lead for Cancer Survivorship, Louise Mullen, Clinical Lead for Psycho-Oncology Dr Helen Greally, and Minister of State at the Department of Health, Colm Burke. 

The event was also used as an opportunity to announce funding of €3m for the NCCP’s Alliance of Community Cancer Support Centres and Services through Budget 2024. The NCCP is currently in the process of distributing these funds which will directly and positively impact the delivery of services for patients and families nationally.

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‘More Precious Than Gold’ book launch



At the official book launch of ‘More Precious Than Gold: My enduring connection with John McShain – the man who built Washington’ by Alice O’Neill-McLoughlin at Killarney House, was Minister of State for Nature, Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan, T.D.

Alice was born the eldest of eleven children into an Irish farming family in Rosbercon, New Ross, County Wexford. In 1978, she was awarded a scholarship from John McShain- the iconic builder, philanthropist, devout Catholic with Derry ancestry, responsible for many famous American landmarks, including the Jefferson Memorial and the Pentagon.

Her book records the lifelong personal correspondence Alice exchanged with ‘The Man Who Built Washington.’ His philanthropy extended to the Irish people in the bequeathing to the State of Killarney House and the surrounding thousands of acres incorporating the Lakes, Ross Castle, and Innisfallen Island. In 2019, Alice had the honour of inducting John McShain into the Irish America Hall of Fame in her home town of New Ross in the presence of his relatives from Philadelphia and Derry. This is a tale of altruism, of gratitude, of faith and of a life lived in the pursuit of excellence.

Alice also donated her treasured correspondence of letters from John McShain for the archive at Killarney House. Also in attendance were Members of the Ignatius A. O’Shaughnessy family, who was founder of The Globe Oil and Refining Company – and part of a consortium of wealthy American businessmen who were going to purchase the lakes of Killarney as a Country Club in the 1950’s.

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