Dear doc­tor?

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - - News -

THIS let­ter is long, long over­due. It is to thank you for chang­ing my life. Ev­ery­body has a life-chang­ing event. You were my event. Do you re­mem­ber when you were on hol­i­days in a lit­tle fish­ing vil­lage in North West Done­gal in the sum­mer of 1954? You were walk­ing along the road by the beach when you saw my sis­ter and I play­ing. You saw that I had club feet.

You asked where I lived and I showed you the house, a three-roomed thatched house.

Af­ter some time my mother called me. You lifted me on to the kitchen ta­ble and traced the shape of my feet on a sheet of brown pa­per.

I don’t know your name or where you came from. Your name has been lost in time but my mem­ory of you still lives on.

From that day on things moved so fast. My fa­ther and mother told me that I had an ap­point­ment for another op­er­a­tion in Stephen’s Hos­pi­tal. I had been to Tem­ple Street when I was 10 months old and Cap­pagh when I was a year and 10 months. I was told that I could not have another op­er­a­tion un­til I was 12 years old. You dis­agreed. You said I would be too old. I had the surgery at nine years — it was a suc­cess. I was able to do all the things that I would never have been able to do. Walk again, run, work, dance and ro­mance.

I got mar­ried to Mary and we have four lovely chil­dren. When they were born the first thing that I did was check their feet and as I did I thought of you. Like­wise, with my grand­chil­dren.

I hope you are alive to read this. Or did you tell your chil­dren or your grand­chil­dren what you did for that wee boy in North West Done­gal all them years ago? That wee boy is 72 years old now. I hope your life was as good as you made mine. How do I say thank you for some­thing like that? Not easy.

Yours VERY sin­cerely,

Name and ad­dress with Ed­i­tor

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