FIVE-MONTH-OLD Rico Kelly has lost his battle for life and his baby-sized coffin was brought to Reilig Ide Naofa in Abbeyfeale this Monday, where he was buried amidst tears.
Earlier, the Mass of the Angels was celebrated by Fr Joe Foley where, among the gifts brought to the altar was a teddy bear belonging to the little boy. Family members did the readings and prayers of the faithful, and songs, special to Rico during his short life were played.
“It was a very sad occasion but a very dignified one,” Fr Foley said.
Last November, Rico made headline news when his parents, Patrick Kelly and Mary Theresa O’Brien, appealed for funds to send their little boy to London for a heart transplant.
Rico’s illness had come to light last October when he suddenly stopped breathing while at his grandparents’ home in Abbeyfeale.
“It was a big shock, yeah, because Rico was nearly a month old and he was fine at home and then in the space of a couple of hours he was between Kerry General Hospital and here [Crumlin Children’s Hospital)”, Patrick Kelly said at that time. “We have no other choice than to keep going.”
In Crumlin, Rico was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy but the family however pinned their hopes on a heart transplant and Rico was put on a waiting list. But in November, Patrick and Mary Theresa launched their appeal for help. Mr Kelly, who is unemployed and in receipt of disability allowance, said at the time that the family did not even have the €31 needed to pay for a short-term passport for their son . And, he explained, they would also need financial support if and when the call came for Rico and they had to travel and stay with him in London.
A special account was opened in an Abbeyfeale bank and within days of the appeal, several hundred euros had been donated by the public.