Kerry Mums Give Something Back To Hospital That Saved Their Children’s Lives

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Jenny Pye with partner Alex O’Donovan and daughter Sadie. Photo by Dermot Crean

A GROUP of Kerry mothers, who each have a child that was born with a congenital heart defect (CHD), have got together to help raise funds for Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin.

The ‘Glow Hearts 4 Crumlin’ group consists of three mums from Tralee – Sinead O’Connor, Sonya Doyle and Jenny Pye – Sharon Brosnan from Abbeydorney, Gillian O’Donoghue from Killarney and Sinead Malone Walker from Rathmore.

The ladies want to give something back to the hospital which has done so much for them and their children.

We caught up with one of the Tralee mums, Jenny Pye from Cúil Fúine off the Bracker O’Regan Road to tell us her story.

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She and her partner, Alex O’Donovan from Derrylea, had a daughter Sadie who was born in April last year.

Within a week doctors realised there was something wrong. Jenny and Alex spoke to the specialists in Dublin who told them Sadie had multiple heart problems which required surgery, but she was too small to be operated on.

“You have this love for your child and then you’re told that they have major heart problems and your whole world comes crashing down. You just want to take that pain away from them,” said Jenny, who works as a paramedic.

Sadie had to reach a certain weight before they could perform the surgery, so the family had to go home and wait, which was a terrible experience as Jenny and Alex had to watch Sadie at all times in case something happened to her.

“Each day we were wondering ‘is she going to stop breathing?’ or ‘is her heart going to stop?’. It was a terrifying experience,” she said.

Eventually Sadie had an operation last summer and came through it. Jenny and Alex are so grateful for the support they received from the hospital during the whole experience.

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“The team at Crumlin Children’s Hospital and Ronald McDonald House were lifesavers for us. When Sadie was in intensive care, there is only a certain amount of time you can be in there, so if you have nowhere to go you end up wandering around the hospital. But we had a base, a home, where there were other mothers  in the same boat. You get so close to them and they become your rock. When they go through bad times, you go through bad times.”

“We were so lucky that we came home with our child. Some of the other couples didn’t,” said Jenny.

Now Jenny and the other mothers in ‘Glow Hearts 4 Crumlin’ – who have children born with CHD who range in ages from six months of age to 14 years of age – want to give something back.

They are planning their first fundraising event on Thursday March 26, where they hope to hold a day for Kerry schools were children will be allowed wear red to school.

The idea then is each child participating would make a small contribution (€2 or whatever they can afford) with the proceeds of that collection going towards Crumlin.

Schools that wish to participate are asked to email the group at this will enable them to register their participation and they will forward them on further details regarding the events and the method in which they can forward on the proceeds of their collection.

If local businesses or other groups wish to take part they can email the group and they’ll will take it from there.

The group have also set up a Facebook page (click here) with over 2,000 likes in just days.

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