herald

Wednesday 28 June 2017

Brave Cathy's fund will help sick baby Sergio

ILLNESS: Money raised for treatment will pay for tot's US operation

A SICK little boy is to benefit from funds raised for cancer campaigner Cathy Durkin.

The mum-of-three will be buried in Dublin today -- but her legacy will help neighbour Sergio O'Connor.

Cathy (41) successfully fought for a breatkthrough cancer drug to be provided by the HSE.

Little Sergio, who is 16 months old and from Donneycarney, faces another major operation this week in Boston University Children's Hospital.

He suffers from a number of complications, incuding one which prevents him from eating, drinking or swallowing.

Surgery

A Government jet flew the boy to Boston last April after waiting for a year for him to grow strong enough for the surgery to repair an incompete digestive tract.

Cathy had kept a photo of Sergio beside her hospital bed.

A fundraising campaign launched before the HSE agreed to pay for her treatment raised €77,500.

Ms Durkin told her story on RTE's Liveline programme last April and began a blog, prompting a fundraising campaign.

She was desperate to get the drug Ipilimumab, also known as Ipi, which can prolong the life of cancer sufferers.

Ms Durkin told how she wanted to live for her children, Alex (11), Alyssa (seven) and Conor (four).

She fought to make the drug, which costs €85,000 for a course of treatment, available to cancer patients in Ireland.

She started her treatment in May and was due to get her final dose of Ipi this week, but died on Saturday.

Liveline presenter Joe Duffy became emotional after a recorded tribute to Ms Durkin was played at the end of his programme yesterday.

Funeral

Family friend Karen Meenan told the show: "Right to the end she was thinking of others, she thanked everyone for all their support and help."

The funeral of Ms Durkin, from Clare Hall, north Dublin, is this morning at Holy Trinity Church, Donaghamede.

Sergio's father Donal said she was "a brilliant woman and will be sadly missed".

The little boy recently underwent corrective surgery lasting 12 hours to repair a small hole that developed betweeen his oesophagus and stomach.

hnews@herald.ie

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