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“I wish to go to Lapland”
6 years old, Enniskillen
Six-year-old Tíernan’s wish to go to Lapland meant that his family could create positive memories together - something they weren’t able to do in the first years of Tíernan’s life. A kidney failure and prune belly syndrome diagnosis meant that Tíernan had a ‘tough start to his life’, as mum Finola told us. Having never gone on holiday before, his wish has allowed the family to create a wealth of long-lasting memories in a wintery wonderland.
By the time Tíernan was five months old, he'd spent most of his life in hospital. Whilst pregnant with Tíernan, doctors diagnosed mum Finola with a fatal foetal abnormality. ‘When I was pregnant, I was told that he wouldn’t survive beyond birth,’ said mum.
Although Tíernan did survive past birth, doctors discovered that he had kidney failure just 24 hours after he was born. Following this, Tíernan was placed on peritoneal dialysis for 12 hours a day, every day, for four years. ‘When he was on dialysis, he was really ill,’ said mum ‘he would vomit around seven to eight times a day’. Fortunately, Tíernan’s dad, Ciaran, was able to donate his kidney to his son. ‘You’d do anything for your children,’ said dad ‘so I just wanted to get it done as soon as possible and protect our special little boy in any way I could’.
But the bad news didn't stop there. Tíernan was also diagnosed with prune belly syndrome - a rare birth defect that impacts the abdominal muscles. Doctors also discovered that Tíernan was born with a collapsed left lung. He then endured three intensive chest drains whilst also being put on an oscillator, as the ventilator he was on wasn’t strong enough to keep him alive.
During Tíernan’s time in hospital, the family received the devastating new that he mostly likely wouldn’t survive. ‘We were told three times that Tíernan wouldn’t make it’.
Despite the short prognosis that doctors had given him, Tíernan is now ‘a really happy child who wakes up every morning with a smile on his face’. Yet as mum told us, he requires support for daily thing and is tube fed. Still, chatty Tíernan is now attending a mainstream school, with full time support from his classroom assistant, loving all things to do with learning and socialising.
‘The first few months of his life were overwhelming. We were told to have a last cuddle with him as he might not make it through the night,’ said mum. As well as a turbulent start to his life, the family have never been able to go abroad on holiday, the result of his condition. This is why Tíernan 's wish to Lapland meant so much: the family were finally able to enjoy quality time together on holiday, without having to worry about the logistics of getting Tíernan and all his medical equipment to Lapland. ‘It’s the first time we were able to go abroad and on a plane together,’ said mum.
Not only was Tíernan able to experience the joys of a family holiday for the first time, he was able to meet Santa Claus, something mum said he's always wanted to do. ‘He was really excited, especially when he applied for a passport and started buying all the clothes,’ said mum.
"When we got his diagnosis at birth, we could never have imagined something as special as this would happen. This past year has been incredibly tough so this is the best Christmas and birthday present Tíernan could have wished for."
The impact of Tíernan's wish
For mum, the wish meant that she was be able to enjoy seeing ‘pure joy’ on her child's face. ‘He really deserved this magical experience’, said mum.
‘It was an action packed couple of days which we all thoroughly enjoyed,’ said mum. Whilst on the wish, Tíernan was able to meet Santa’s elves as well as finally being able to meet the big man himself. 'His favourite part of the trip was the Husky rides and of course meeting Santa, who was amazing,’ said mum.
‘Tíernan's wish to go to Lapland was the most wonderful experience for all of our family,’ said mum. For Tíernan and his family, his wish has provided luminous memories; memories that counter those made in the first years of his life.
‘Make-A-Wish are an amazing charity who have provided Tíernan and us with memories that will last a lifetime.'
'Thank you to everyone who made my wish come true!’ said Tíernan.
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