Ireland MNT: Players visit Our Lady's Children's Hospital
The four international footballers also sought to use the visit to showcase the work of Cancer Fund for Children, an all-Ireland charity which supports children and young people diagnosed with cancer, and their families, following a diagnosis.
Cancer Fund for Children plan to build a new therapeutic short break centre in Connacht for families across Ireland affected by childhood cancer - similar to their existing Daisy Lodge in Northern Ireland.
The four international players spent time speaking to children and staff talking about their football careers and hearing individual stories.
Dr Cormac Owens, Consultant Paediatric Oncologist at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin (OLCHC) said: “We were extremely proud to welcome the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland soccer international players to OLCHC Children’s Cancer Ward. The children and families had a fantastic day getting autographs and photos of their sporting heroes and enjoyed talking to them about their fitness regime.
"OLCHC works in collaboration with Cancer Fund for Children which provides complimentary therapeutic short breaks for its families attending the Cancer Unit at OLCHC and we look forward to the construction of new facility in Connacht which will provide short breaks for families both North and South.”
Republic of Ireland defender, Shane Duffy, said: "It was a very humbling experience visiting the Hospital and seeing the fantastic work being done by the staff and carers. But the bravery of the kids is really extraordinary...it takes your breath away at how strong they are every day. We wanted to give them a little lift and show some support because they are not alone in their fight. It was good to link up with the lads from the Northern Ireland team too - proving that the two countries can work together."
Northern Ireland captain, Steven Davis, said: “It was great to take some time out of training this week to visit this hospital and to meet the remarkable kids and the incredible staff who work here. The Northern Ireland team has supported the work of Cancer Fund for Children since EURO 2016 and it was excellent to see how that charity helps kids and families across the island of Ireland. It was also great to be with Shane and David to show that no matter what team we play for, everyone is together in the fight to help kids beat this disease.”
You can help the doctors, nurses and researchers who do whatever it takes to help Ireland's sickest children in the fight against childhood illness by visiting - www.cmrf.org/donate
Information on Cancer Fund for Children
Every week in Ireland 10 more children and young people (0-24) will be diagnosed with cancer.
This means that one family each day faces the devastating news that their child has cancer. Treatment for childhood cancer can last up to three years, depending on the type and severity of the diagnosis, the prognosis and the child’s response to treatment.
Cancer Fund for Children understands the devastating impact a cancer diagnosis and treatment has on the whole family, and that beyond essential medical care, there is a family life that needs to be rebuilt.
Cancer Fund for Children plans to extend services across Ireland, beginning with the building of a new therapeutic short break centre in Cong, Co. Mayo.
Cancer Fund for Children’s current short break facility, Daisy Lodge in Co. Down, has provided over 2,000 short breaks to families in four years.
Cancer Fund for Children currently accommodate 80 families a year from the Republic of Ireland. Those families who have the greatest need are referred for a therapeutic short break through the social work team based at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin.
A new therapeutic short break centre in Connacht will allow Cancer Fund for Children to increase the number of families they support from 400 to 800 a year, ensuring more families can access the essential non-clinical support they need.