Imagine not having your beautiful two-year-old son at the Christmas table with all the other family members or watching all the children excitedly opening their presents from Santa, while your toddler remains attached to drips, monitors and machines at a children’s hospital.
For one Longford family this is very much the reality of their Christmas this year.
Their son, brother and adored nephew Little Max is currently in isolation at Crumlin Children’s Hospital after undergoing bone marrow treatment a few weeks ago.
The little man from Ballinalee – who is the son of Cathy Bermingham and her husband Roy Wenman - was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma last July and has undergone numerous treatments since then.
He had a tumour removed and has begun a rigorous two year treatment programme, which includes bone marrow transplants and chemotherapy, all of which form part of European clinical trials in children affected by the disease. Neuroblastoma is most commonly diagnosed in children before the age of five years and occurs in approximately one out of 100,000 children.
Numerous fundraisers have taken place since the diagnosis, including ‘Movember’ at Foley’s Bar in Longford town and an entertainment nights at PVs with special guest and Olympic Silver Medallist, John Joe Nevin to the fore.
“Little Max has been in Crumlin for the past six or seven weeks after undergoing a bone marrow transplant,” Max’s godfather, Eddie Mooney explained to the Leader.
“Everything was going well, but then he got pneumonia and his lungs subsequently collapsed. Then his liver started giving trouble so now he is in isolation and can’t come home for Christmas, unfortunately.”
Little Max’s parents Cathy and Roy are currently making plans for the family for the festive season. “Roy is probably going to stay with Max, while Cathy will be at home with the other children; it’s so sad really,” Mr Mooney continued. “There are more fundraisers in the pipeline for the New Year and it has to be said that we had some very successful fundraisers here in Longford over the past few months.
“I really want to take the opportunity to thank the people of Longford for all their help and support over the last six months – everyone is thinking of and praying for Little Max and we really appreciate everything that everyone is doing for us at this time.”