Fundraising to give toddler Johnny best possible care
He's as playful as any other toddler, but little Johnny Murphy is unable to eat due to a severe stomach and bowel disorder.
The youngest child of Sabrina and John Murphy of Oakpark, Ballymurn, can't eat normally because the food is aspirated into his lungs and he has to be fed through a tube for 18 hours a day.
The tube is attached to a trolley which Johnny pulls around with him as he plays at home with his older sister and brother Jason (4) and Lily (7).
Johnny, who will celebrate his third birthday next month, is undergoing tests in Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital in London to help treat his rare illness.
The trips to London are a financial strain, so a number of fundraising events are being organised to help Johnny's parents cover the ongoing costs of travelling.
The latest was a sponsored walk by a group of up to 100 people from Castlebridge to the Riverbank House Hotel in Ferrybank on Sunday.
Johnny himself had pride of place during the journey, sitting comfortably on a three-wheel motorbike with his dad and brother.
White doves were released as a ribbon was cut, signalling the start of the walk which conclused with refreshments and entertainment in the hotel.
In recent months Johnny has been regularly attending the London hospital where specialists have been carrying out tests with a view to alleviating his debilitating condition.
'We've been over five times and it looks like we will be attending for the forseeable future,' said mum Sabrina who wants to give her son the best medical chance that she possibly can.
She said doctors believe her son is suffering from paralysis of the stomach and bowel and are carrying out further investigations to see what can be done.
'I have to give him a chance. I have to be able to look back and say I tried everything,' said Sabrina, adding that it is necessary to attend Great Ormond Street because doctors in Ireland are not up to date with the condition.
Despite his medical problems, Johnny is a happy fun-loving boy.
'On the outside, he's a perfectly normal little boy but he can't eat anything or drink anything. If he doesn't start eating soon, it will be very serious,' said Sabrina.
'We don't really know what's ahead of us. He may have to attend Great Ormond until he's 18.'
Sabrina said that without the help of family and friends, it would be very difficult to make the trips. 'We've two other children so it's hard. We rely on the support of family and we're very thankful for that.'
* For more information contact Rosie on 086 8725868 or Edel on 087 2219523.
* A Golf Classic is due to be held in Wexford Golf Club in September.
* Donations can be made to a special account in the Permanent TSB, sort code 990666, number 88898726.