Hospital benefits as miracle boy Brody turns one
For the first eight weeks of his life it was touch and go whether young Brody Breen would live to see his first birthday.
Born two months premature Brody had stopped developing in the womb at 24 weeks, and shortly after his arrival he contracted sepsis, putting him in immediate danger.
Brody's mother, Katie Rea, recalls the early hours of her son's life and the constant fear of losing him.
'After a day or two Brody got sepsis, things got rocky then. I remember being in a wheelchair beside his incubator looking at his stats going down, his chest wasn't going up and down, and the nurses were having to rush to revive him, then rush somewhere else and come back again. It was very touch and go for two months. The staff at the hospital were preparing us not to come home with him,' Katie recalls.
But then, after some tortuously long days and nights, Brody gradually began to fight back.
'One day he just turned a corner, he got bigger and began to put on weight,' says Katie. 'But even then we were afraid to say he was getting better, it was very slow, there was a lot of patience required.'
Now, against all odds, Brody has just celebrated his first birthday with Katie, dad Roy, and grandparents Peter and Margaret, and Teresa and David. To mark the occasion his family held a coffee morning at Our Lady's Island Community Centre to help raise funds for Holles Street National Maternity Hospital in Dublin, the place where Brody spent those first tentative months of his life.
'The nurses and doctors at Holles Street are magic, that's the only way I can describe them. This is our way of giving something back to them,' Katie says.
At the time of writing the coffee morning had raised over €1800 with that figure expected to rise as more donations came in. And Katie wanted to pay tribute to all those who had helped to make it happen.
'We all want to say a huge thank you to all those who supported us and helped with the coffee morning. And to the Community Centre for allowing us to use the premises. Also, all the local businesses who donated prizes for us to raffle.'
And how is the birthday boy faring now?
'He's great now, his lungs took a bit of a hit and during the cold weather he might need an inhaler. He's also profoundly deaf, we're going up to see if we can get him cochlear implants, but he's here and he's fighting fit, it's a blessing,' said Katie who added that next year, for Brody's second birthday, the family were planning to organise a bike run in aid of Wexford Hospital where Brody spent two-and-a-half weeks before coming home.