RYAN McCormack, the Tramore boy who traveled to the U.S. for a bone marrow transplant last December, is now back at school in Fenor after responding brilliantly to his treatment.
“I’m so, so happy,” his mother Caroline said, “but I’m remaining philosophical about this, and am taking things just one day at a time.”
Ryan, now aged seven and a half, along with his brother Ethan, five, were diagnosed with Adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD), a genetic disease that affects one in 18 000 people, mostly affecting boys and men.
“Prior to the surgery, we were told that Ryan had just a 20 percent chance of successfully responding to the transplant, but his bone marrow cell readings are incredibly positive, his body has responded brilliantly to the surgery and that he could return to school in Fenor has been absolutely fantastic,” Caroline said.
While Ryan has sight and hearing difficulties, Caroline said he’s a very happy boy, and is delighted to be back at school among his friends.
“Everyone in the school has been brilliant,” she added.
The Munster Express
Prisoners Help Rwandans
AT least one of the 25 Loughan House prisoners who have been learning to rear calves destined to offer a source of income for a deserving Rwandan community has been inspired to offer his help to an Irish international aid agency upon his release.
Irish charity Bóthar has enlisted the help of some of the inmates at the open prison on the outskirts of Blacklion in rearing the cattle, donated by local farmers.
In 12 months time the heifers will be in-calf and will be ready for export to the impoverished Rusizi area of the African country.
“I think it is great,” one prisoner, who we will call Sean, told the Anglo Celt.
Despite having no background in farming, Sean has been inspired by the aid agency’s work, and wants to continue to contribute to Bóthar’s cause.
“I think what they do all around the world is great and I would like to continue to work with Bóthar when I leave here,” he said.
Sean said he would love to travel out to Rwanda, where the animals will find new homes.
“The calves have only been here for a number of months and the lads that are involved in working with them – you can see the change in their body language which tells you they get a lot of satisfaction out of doing this,” Bóthar founder Peter Ireton says.
When the 31 Friesian Loughan House heifers arrive in Rusizi in late 2014, they will be greeted with an ideal climate, green grass and plenty of water. Across the river is the comparatively wealthy city of Bukavu, which has minerals and diamonds, but according to Ireton, “they are crying out for milk.”
As a result the high yielding Irish livestock will help provide an export market for the Rusizi area.
Inspired by a similar project being run at Shelton Abbey open prison, the Loughan House project forms part of the restorative justice program. Participating prisoners have undergone a training course in livestock management and received accreditation for animal husbandry.
Prostate Test Review
THE Health Service Executive (HSE) will review almost 13,000 investigations for prostate cancer taken at Mayo General Hospital between July 6, 2012, and June 25, 2013, it has been confirmed.
This is in the aftermath of recent revelations that faulty test kits were giving artificially high readings, often 20 to 23 percent higher than comparable tests.
A statement on behalf of the HSE said, “This incident, which is outside the control of Mayo General Hospital, is considered to be of low clinical risk in relation to long-term negative outcomes for patients.”
Mayo General Hospital has confirmed that an alternative method of testing has been in place since July, when the problem with the Siemens kit emerged. News of the faulty kits broke after Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown, Co. Dublin, said it had withdrawn the kits after they were found to be faulty.
The defective testing kits were used at Mayo for almost a year, until their withdrawal on June 25.
From the following day, the hospital attached a comment to all new PSA results informing doctors that a new method had been introduced.
The hospital has contacted all doctors who requested this test during that period and advised them about the international field notice about the kits. It has also offered to carry out re-tests using the new Roche PSA method.
The HSE also confirmed that the review team met at MGH last Tuesday, September 10, and that when the review of all the tests is completed, it will write to doctors whose patients showed an elevated reading. It advised relevant patients to wait to be notified by their doctors, and that there was no need to take any other action.
The Mayo News
Pups Left to Die
STRABANE'S dog warden has voiced his disgust after revealing that two puppies were callously abandoned and left to die beside the riverside in Sion Mills.
Mark Hegarty said the two cross-bred terriers, believed to be only three-weeks-old, were found by a local angler and immediately handed over to the district council.
One of the animals was already dead, while the other subsequently died at the weekend despite valiant efforts to keep it alive, both in Strabane and at the Dogs Trust in Ballymena.
Hegarty said he had personally dealt with the puppy when it was left in, and admitted that he found the experience "harrowing."
Urging people to stop dumping unwanted animals, he said that both animals could have been saved if they had been brought straight to the council.
“People don't have to dump unwanted dogs at the side of the river. Just give us a call. Without question, the Dogs Trust will always be able to re-home puppies," he said.
"At the end of the day, this is animal cruelty. If whoever dumped these pups had come to us straight away, they could have been saved. These dogs were left to die by somebody with no conscience. It tugs at your heartstrings."
Strabane Weekly News
“A GREAT buzz” is how Tunny Elliot described jumping out of a plane at 10,000 feet last month.
The sprightly 81-year-old Tunny took the biggest leap of his life at an airstrip in Galway and successfully completed his first-ever skydive.
“I wasn’t really nervous, just a little bit tense,” he explained. “Height has never really bothered me. I’ve climbed the Eiffel Tower before. Before I jumped myself, I saw other people doing it and they looked just like birds. Then I got up and did it.
“You jump out and you freefall for about 30 seconds and it’s like you’re floating,” a delighted Tunny explained to the uninitiated, adding that as he approached the ground “it was like sitting on a rollercoaster.”
Tunny, a resident of Castledermot, took part in the tandem jump to raise money for a playground there, managing to raise about €822 for the cause.
Tunny’s jump also means that he’s just ticked off another of three events on his bucket list. He compiled the list after the death of his beloved wife Teresa in December 2011, resolving to skydive and to own a race-winning greyhound.
His dog has won 10 races already and looks good for another few wins, at least.
Now that he’s fulfilled those two ambitions, his next is to elope to Gretna Green in Scotland.
“Now, I’ve just to sort a new wife for myself,” he laughed.