By Stephen McKinley
A child’s illness is a parent’s worst nightmare.
Even when a diagnosis has been reached, the battle is often far from over, especially if the illness is rare or difficult to treat.
Two little Irish girls, both suffering from rare blood disorders, have drawn a compassionate response from the Irish community in the Northeast, but as yet, a cure for their separate disorders has yet to be found. And a little Irish boy, Danny Mulvey, is suffering from leukemia. His grandparents, Frankie and Eileen Kehoe, who live in Manhattan’s Inwood section, hope that a benefit at the Liffy II bar, 5009 Broadway, on Saturday, July 28, will raise funds and awareness for Danny’s condition.
For Aileen Fearon, despite a bone marrow drive in Woodside on July 1, an accurate donor match has yet to be found to counter the effects of her condition, known as aplastic anemia.
Her parents, Mike and Marie, from Counties Down and Armagh, are still hoping that a donor will be found — and the Aisling Irish Center in Yonkers will hold another bone marrow drive on Saturday, August 4, from noon to 6 p.m. The Center is at 990 McLean Ave. in Yonkers.
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Meanwhile, 2-year-old Rachel Grenham, from County Roscommon, has been a patient in Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City since June. Rachel is suffering from an as yet unidentified genetic blood disorder — like Aileen, she requires frequent blood transfusions to stay alive. Her blood cell count continues to drop and doctors in Europe were unable to diagnose and treat her disease.
Parents Brian and Bernadette Grenham are hopeful that a specialist will soon identify the cause of her illness and suggest an appropriate treatment. A benefit has been organized in West Roxbury, Mass., to help offset the costs of the medical care, on Friday, Sept. 21, from 8 p.m. to midnight at the Irish Social Club, 119 Park St., West Roxbury.
For tickets or more information, call Pat Mulvey at (781) 326-9404 or Trisha O’Rourke at (617) 529-0135.
Donations by check can be made payable to The Rachel Grenham Fund and mailed to: Peoples Federal Bank, 435 Market St., Brighton, MA 02135.
Aileen Fearon’s mother, Marie, is praying that the second bone marrow drive will uncover a perfect match for her daughter.
"It’s not every day that you get a chance to save someone’s life," she said.
For the bone marrow drive, any form of photo I.D. will be sufficient to take part. The family urges undocumented Irish to also take part in the drive.