A LIMERICK mother of a seriously ill daughter has written a song to help make dreams come true for other sick children.
Linda O’Leary, whose nine- year-old daughter Nicola has a number of medical conditions, wrote the song Just A Smile to raise funds for the Limerick based Share A Dream foundation.
The charity has been making dreams come true for hundreds of ill children across the country for over 20 years.
The Clarina mum said that when Nicola was born they were given very little hope for her future.
“She was only five days old when a doctor just said, ‘Take her home and love her as best as you can.’ She has severe cerebral palsy, which leaves her unable to walk and talk or even use her hands. She also has a rare form of epilepsy called West Syndrome, and suffers from multiple chest infections. In August of this year she had a peg inserted into her stomach to feed her as she is no longer able to feed orally. Everyday is a struggle for her,” explained Linda.
Last year the Share A Dream foundation awarded Nicola the national child of courage award in recognition of the courage and bravery she had shown throughout her years fighting her illness.
Nicola and her family also received a dream trip to Disneyland Paris, “something we will never forget”.
“Life was hard, and we felt as if we were living in a bubble. There was no break from her illness and our family life at home was suffering. They helped us to forget about Nicola’s illness just for a short while which gave us a chance to feel like a normal family,” said Linda.
She wrote the song after being inspired by having to watch her daughter struggle with daily pain and illness for the last nine years and “never really getting a chance to have happy, carefree childhood”.
“I wrote this song to help raise much needed funds for Share a Dream so they can continue to make dreams come true for children all over Ireland.
“I want every family with a special needs or terminal ill child to experience what we have with the Share a Dream Foundation because sometimes life can be so short with these special children that it is important to create really amazing memories,” she said.
Just a Smile is currently on sale from the Limerick Leader, 54 O’Connell Street, Limerick; the Gleeson’s stores on Catherine Street, Henry Street and Castletroy; Little Chancer kids clothing, Crescent Shopping Centre, Keating Pharmacy, Dooradoyle and from the Share a Dream office, in Castletroy.
Next Saturday night another brave Limerick girl will be awarded at the Share A Dream ball in the Radisson Blu Hotel in Limerick.
Six year-old Sophie Mulcahy from Rhebogue suffers from a rare condition called 1q43 Deletion and is believed to be one of only 40 known cases in the world.
She spent the first six months of her life on a ventilator in Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, and has already undergone six heart operations amongst other procedures.
The little girl has suffered numerous setbacks such as lung and kidney failure.
“We are over the moon and so proud of her,” said her father Liam, after receiving news of her award.
“It is in recognition of what she has been through and the courage she has shown,” added the Kilmallock man.
Sophie will join seven other courageous children from across Ireland at the gala dream ball, will receive the VIP treatment at the black tie event which will be hosted by RTE presenters Miriam O’Callaghan and Will Leahy.