Coura­geous Cil­lian (7) is in­spir­ing the com­mu­nity

Cool­cotts boy still smil­ing – de­spite fac­ing years of chemo­ther­apy

Wexford People - - FRONT PAGE - By MARIA PEP­PER

THE WEX­FORD com­mu­nity is ral­ly­ing be­hind a seven-year old boy whose ex­tra­or­di­nary courage in bat­tling can­cer is prov­ing an in­spi­ra­tion.

Cil­lian Wood of Ash­leigh Park, Cool­cotts, pic­tured above, was di- ag­nosed with T-cell lym­phoblas­tic lym­phoma and is fac­ing more than three years of chemo­ther­apy at Crum­lin Chil­dren’s Hospi­tal in Dublin.

‘He has never shown up­set or fear and has a con­stant smile on his face’, said his mother Sinéad, who has been said she has been over­whelmed by the sup­port shown to her by the lo­cal com­mu­nity since Cil­lian be­came ill.

‘It is just amaz­ing how kind peo­ple have been. It’s ab­so­lutely phe­nom­e­nal,’ said Sinéad, who has given up work to care for Cil­lian full-time.

Fam­ily and friends of the Scoil Mhuire pupil, who has a twin brother, Oisín, have now es­tab­lished a fundrais­ing cam­paign to help take some of the fi­nan­cial pres­sure off the fam­ily dur­ing Cil­lian’s ill­ness.

THE courage of a seven year old Wex­ford boy who was di­ag­nosed with can­cer, is in­spir­ing an en­tire Wex­ford com­mu­nity.

Cil­lian Wood from Ash­leigh Park, is cur­rently re­ceiv­ing chemo­ther­apy in Crum­lin Chil­dren’s Hospi­tal for Lym­phoma.

The brave Scoil Mhuire pupil who has a twin brother Oisín will have to un­dergo in­ten­sive treat­ment for the next three years.

Mem­bers of the com­mu­nity have ral­lied to help his fam­ily cover trav­el­ling and med­i­cal costs as he bat­tles bravely against the ill­ness which was di­ag­nosed over three months ago.

Cil­lian’s mother Sinead brought him to his GP with a sus­pected chest in­fec­tion and later he was rushed to Wex­ford Gen­eral Hospi­tal as he couldn’t breathe. Sub­se­quent scans at Crum­lin Hospi­tal showed he had T Cell Lym­phoblas­tic Lym­phoma, a rare type of fast-grow­ing non-Hodgkin lym­phoma which starts when white blood cells be­come ab­nor­mal and grow in an un­con­trolled way.

Hailed as a ‘lit­tle war­rior’, Cil­lian is keep­ing up a brave face de­spite spend­ing long pe­ri­ods in hospi­tal and hav­ing spinal and IV/oral chemo­ther­apy up to three times a day as well as blood trans­fu­sions and steroids. Some of his treat­ments and check-ups are tak­ing place in Wex­ford Gen­eral Hospi­tal.

Steroids have helped to save Cil­lians life as they re­duced the tu­mour so he could go through the rest of his chemo­ther­apy but they come with side ef­fects and his qual­ity of life im­proves when he is off them.

‘Through­out his ill­ness, he has never shown up­set or fear. He is tak­ing ev­ery day in his stride and has a con­stant smile on his face’, said his mother Sinead. ‘As par­ents, we never think that some­thing like this will come to our door. But it’s come to Cil­lian and he is tak­ing the ill­ness head on. He is truly an inspirational lit­tle boy’, she said.

‘He has al­ways been in the best of form. He has em­braced ev­ery­thing thrown at him and made the best out of a bad sit­u­a­tion’ said Sinead who is over­whelmed by the sup­port she has re­ceived from the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

‘It is just amaz­ing. It’s ab­so­lutely phe­no­mal. I don’t even know some of the peo­ple who have or­gan­ised events. One of them was a woman whose lit­tle boy goes to the same school as Cil­lian’.

In a poem writ­ten abour her jour­ney as a mother of a child with can­cer, Sinead re­called her re­ac­tion on be­ing told of her son’s di­ag­no­sis . ‘The world turns black and you fall to the floor, re­al­ity sinks in, we are go­ing to war’, she wrote.

Cil­lian has an ever-grow­ing string of colour­ful ‘beads of courage’ with each bead rep­re­sent­ing a treat­ment he has un­der­gone in­clud­ing in­jec­tions and chemo­ther­apy as wekk as ex­pe­ri­ences such as the loss of his hair. The beads are de­signed to help chil­dren cope with treat­ment and to com­mem­morate their per­sonal can­cer jour­ney. Cil­lian loves his food and likes to play board games. He still en­joys play­ing foot­ball when he can and loves hang­ing out with his brother Oisín who is his best friend. The pair are in­sep­a­ra­ble.

A se­ries of fundrais­ing events is be­ing or­gan­ised to as­sist the fam­ily with costs as­so­ci­ated with Cil­lian’s care. A jersey day and cake sale were held in Scoil Mhuire, hosted by friends, cousins and teach­ers of the Wex­ford boy who posted a hand-writ­ten ad­ver­tise­ment in the school.

‘Cil­lian is our friend. He is in Miss Cranny’s first class. He is kind and help­ful and he is a good friend. Cil­lian is sick and needs lots of medicine. He can’t come to school be­cause he is in hospi­tal a lot. We miss him loads. Please help Cil­lian get bet­ter by rais­ing money on jersey day’.

Nor­mal life has been put on hold for Cil­lian’s fam­ily who have to reg­u­larly com­mute to Dublin with him for treat­ment and this of­ten proves dif­fi­cult due to hav­ing no car. His mother is un­able to con­tinue work­ing as she is pro­vid­ing 24-hour care for her sick son.

A fundrais­ing ac­count has been set up at www.go­fundme.com.cil­lians-can­cer-care to help take some of the fi­nan­cial bur­den off the fam­ily dur­ing Cil­lian’s ill­ness.

On Satur­day night next, July 14, Li­on­ess Aerial Fit­ness will present aerial per­for­mances, acro, dance and hoola-hoop demon­stra­tions in the Farmer’s Kitchen in Dri­nagh, start­ing at 6.30 pm, as a fundraiser.

Last Fri­day night, Tracey Mor­ris and Sharon Mur­phy hosted a 24-hour ‘Prowler Push’ at Fierce Fit­ness in West­point Busi­ness Park to raise money for the fund.

Cil­lian in hospi­tal wear­ing his ‘beads of courage’.

Cil­lian with his twin brother and best pal Oisín.

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