Little friends buy €50k ventilator in tribute to their tragic pal Abbie
fund: Tots rally round for girl (6) who died at school
FRIENDS of a six-year-old girl who died suddenly in school helped to raise €50,000 for a new ventilator in her honour.
Abbie Byrne (6), from Clarion Quay, Dublin, died after she became "chesty" in class just after school started in St Brigid's Girls National School in Killester in October.
Her mum Niamh, family, friends and school have all rallied to raise money for the Abbie Byrne Fund to buy a ventilator for the ICU of Temple Street hospital.
The popular little girl had suffered from centronuclear myopathy, which meant that she could not walk and had limited abilities in her hands.
She touched everyone around her, so much so that her school held a 7th birthday memorial service for her last Thursday.
Niamh told the Herald: "I thought it was a lovely tribute to her. She would have loved the [fact that she would have been a] celebrity. She would have been laughing at it.
"The school made such an effort with it.
"We thought about planting a tree and releasing balloons on her birthday, and then we decided to get a plaque for her classmates."
Abbie's little classmates released green balloons in her honour last Friday, because they all agreed that Abbie hated the colour pink, and they compiled a poem with their teacher in her honour.
In the space of three months, Abbie's friends, school and family had raised all the money, which Niamh thinks will be a lasting legacy to her little daughter.
"It was overwhelming how much we raised in a short space of time.
"It kept me occupied and my mind free."
She added: "Abbie was so brave and funny, and she made you laugh all the time. I knew she was beside me breaking her heart laughing because she always wanted to be a celebrity."
Abbie loved going to St Brigid's, and the students have since dedicated wall space in the school corridor to Abbie's memory, with lots of photos.
Niamh said: "In the last few months, she was in a lot of pain but she never complained.
"She wanted to be a motorbike racer and I told her she could be whatever she wanted to be."
However, she added: "She never wanted to miss school because of it, and she never stopped playing with the boys. They used to always knock in for her to go out and play. She was a real tomboy."