Wednesday 20 February 2019

Courageous Cillian is an inspiration

Community rallying around 7-year-old twin undergoing cancer treatment in Dublin

Cillian in hospital wearing his ‘beads of courage’.
Cillian in hospital wearing his ‘beads of courage’.
Cillian with his twin brother and best pal Oisín.

Maria Pepper

The courage of a seven-year-old Wexford boy who was diagnosed with cancer is inspiring an entire Wexford community.

Cillian Wood from Ashleigh Park, is currently receiving chemotherapy in Crumlin Children's Hospital for Lymphoma.

The brave Scoil Mhuire pupil who has a twin brother Oisín will have to undergo intensive treatment for the next three years.

Members of the community have rallied to help his family cover travelling and medical costs as he battles bravely against the illness which was diagnosed over three months ago.

Cillian's mother Sinead brought him to his GP with a suspected chest infection and later he was rushed to Wexford General Hospital as he couldn't breathe. Subsequent scans at Crumlin Hospital showed he had T Cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma, a rare type of fast-growing non-Hodgkin lymphoma which starts when white blood cells become abnormal and grow in an uncontrolled way.

Hailed as a 'little warrior', Cillian is keeping up a brave face despite spending long periods in hospital and having spinal and IV/oral chemotherapy up to three times a day as well as blood transfusions and steroids. Some of his treatments and check-ups are taking place in Wexford General Hospital.

Steroids have helped to save Cillians life as they reduced the tumour so he could go through the rest of his chemotherapy but they come with side effects and his quality of life improves when he is off them.

'Throughout his illness, he has never shown upset or fear. He is taking every day in his stride and has a constant smile on his face', said his mother Sinead. 'As parents, we never think that something like this will come to our door. But it's come to Cillian and he is taking the illness head on. He is truly an inspirational little boy', she said.

'He has always been in the best of form. He has embraced everything thrown at him and made the best out of a bad situation' said Sinead who is overwhelmed by the support she has received from the local community.

'It is just amazing. It's absolutely phenomal. I don't even know some of the people who have organised events. One of them was a woman whose little boy goes to the same school as Cillian'.

In a poem written abour her journey as a mother of a child with cancer, Sinead recalled her reaction on being told of her son's diagnosis . 'The world turns black and you fall to the floor, reality sinks in, we are going to war', she wrote.

Cillian has an ever-growing string of colourful 'beads of courage' with each bead representing a treatment he has undergone including injections and chemotherapy as wekk as experiences such as the loss of his hair. The beads are designed to help children cope with treatment and to commemmorate their personal cancer journey. Cillian loves his food and likes to play board games. He still enjoys playing football when he can and loves hanging out with his brother Oisín who is his best friend. The pair are inseparable.

A series of fundraising events is being organised to assist the family with costs associated with Cillian's care. A jersey day and cake sale were held in Scoil Mhuire, hosted by friends, cousins and teachers of the Wexford boy who posted a hand-written advertisement in the school.

'Cillian is our friend. He is in Miss Cranny's first class. He is kind and helpful and he is a good friend. Cillian is sick and needs lots of medicine. He can't come to school because he is in hospital a lot. We miss him loads. Please help Cillian get better by raising money on jersey day'.

Normal life has been put on hold for Cillian's family who have to regularly commute to Dublin with him for treatment and this often proves difficult due to having no car. His mother is unable to continue working as she is providing 24-hour care for her sick son.

A fundraising account has been set up at to help take some of the financial burden off the family during Cillian's illness.

On Saturday night next, July 14, Lioness Aerial Fitness will present aerial performances, acro, dance and hoola-hoop demonstrations in the Farmer's Kitchen in Drinagh, starting at 6.30 pm, as a fundraiser.

Last Friday night, Tracey Morris and Sharon Murphy hosted a 24-hour 'Prowler Push' at Fierce Fitness in Westpoint Business Park to raise money for the fund.

Wexford People

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