A New York fireman made a young teenage cancer sufferer’s day when he dropped in to see her in an isolation ward at a Dublin Children’s Hospital.
Irish American Gerry O’Riordain was hailed a hero after he helped the rescue efforts at Ground Zero a decade ago.
He was in Dublin with a group of fellow fire-fighters to present a cheque for $10,000 to the burns unit in Crumlin when he met up with 17-year-old Niamh McNulty.
Niamh is currently in isolation after a bone marrow operation as she battles a rare form of leukaemia.
Gerry’s wife Eimear, from Donegal, is a cousin of Niamh’s mum Bernie and was delighted to organize the surprise visit when was given rare permission by doctors to talk in her special unit.
Bernie said: “Because of strict medical conditions following the operation Niamh is only allowed meet her immediate family, and when she is at home she cannot go out for several months more.
“Her form of cancer is so rare - it is called ALL + AML1 amplification - that there are only four people in Ireland with it. It is also very rare around the world.
“So it really was a treat for Niamh when Gerry was allowed to meet her.”
Gerry and his colleagues also presented a cheque to the hospital from funds raised in thanks for the support given by Irish firemen and policemen in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks.
Young Niamh has battled cancer since 2005 and won’t return to school until next March at the earliest.
Mum Bernie told the Irish Examiner: “She has been doing great since the operation, brilliant. She’s a tough girl.”