independent

Wednesday 21 August 2019

'I just want to be able to do normal stuff like everybody else'

SAOIRSE MCGARRIGLE

Jade Whelan speaks from her hospital bed in the Great North Children's Hospital in Newcastle.

13-year-old Jade, who is recovering from a ground-breaking bone marrow transplant, was the subject of a BBC documentary on children's health.

The show, which was aired last week, also featured an interview with Jade's parents PJ and Sarah, who have been at their eldest daughter's bedside since March.

The Ballymurn couple - who have two other younger daughters, Rachel and Carla - spoke of the 'crippling pain' which Jade was forced to endure daily before she received this life changing treatment for juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, which she was first diagnosed with as a baby.

Her mother Sarah spoke of the painstaking task which they were faced with in choosing whether or not to proceed with the treatment in a bid to find a cure to Jade's illness, because of the dangers associated with it.

She spoke with relief etched on her face as she told the BBC reporter that Jade's treatment had been a success and doctors were confident that her arthritis was completely cured.

Before undergoing this treatment Jade was wheelchair bound. Now she can walk again, which she demonstrated during the documentary as she walked from her bed out into the corridor of the hospital.

The local community in Ballymurn have rallied around to try and help the family who one friend described as having 'gone through the mill both emotionally and financially'.

A teen rock band called 'Kobi' have decided to host a benefit concert at the Castle Night Club, Enniscorthy, this Sunday, 29 July, in a bid to show their support for the family.

The group who were previously called ' Thunderstruck' performed at this year's Strawberry Fest. The group is made up of four young musicians from the local area: Cian Brennan (17), Shane Brennan (13), James Kehoe (17) and Stephen O'Dowd (16).

The organisers of the concert hope that a large crowd will turn out in support of the event in a bid to show Jade that the entire community is behind her and her family and wishing her a speedy recovery.

Jade is expected to remain in hospital for another few weeks as her immune system is severely weakened following the bone marrow transplant.

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