Category: Archive

New York fundraiser to aid Limerick boy

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Stephen McKinley

The Limerick boy who came to New York for life-saving brain surgery in April is returning this month for a benefit dance at Gaelic Park in the Bronx.

Thomas O’Sullivan, who is 7, had his operation at the Beth Isr’l Medical Center on the Upper East Side, after his parents, Pat and Adrienne, had all but given up hope of finding treatment for his brain tumor in Ireland or the UK.

The operation and intensive therapy at the world-renowned Institute for Neurology and Neurosurgery saved Thomas’s life, but the family incurred large medical bills.

“They took it upon themselves at huge expense to get him to New York,” a friend of the family told the Echo in April.

At the time, the surgeon, Dr. George Jallo, waived his operation fee of $12,000, but the hospital required fees of $55,000 for the operating room, equipment and staff, as well as much as twice that in rehabilitation fees.

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The O’Sullivans are from Kilteely, Co. Limerick. Since his return to Ireland, Thomas has had rehabilitation treatment at Dun Laoghaire near Dublin.

Staff at Beth Isr’l had hoped to get Thomas back to Ireland as quickly as possible, where he could be treated under the Irish health system, but Thomas needed more weeks of rehab in New York than previously expected.

He experienced several setbacks during rehabilitation, but medical opinion considered the delicate and dangerous operation a success.

“People told us there would be terrible side effects,” Pat O’Sullivan said, “but my child returned home. . . . The use of his hands was poor before but he’s actually feeding with his right hand now.”

“Tom was weak down his right side, and he had trouble walking. He was walking with a walking aid and then he lost his walk altogether.”

When the O’Sullivans were still in New York, their friend Tom Gleeson started a fund for Thomas. It is hoped that the benefit at Gaelic park on Sept 14 will help the O’Sullivan family further.

“People have been very good to us here,” Adrienne O’Sullivan said. “From accommodation to driving us in and out [of New York City.]”

At the dance, music will be provided by bands such as the Maura Fogarty Band, Joe Nellany and the Sligo Aces, the John Prunty Band, the Spirits of Gilbride and other artists.

The event will take place on Saturday, Sept 14, from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. at Gaelic Park, West 240th Street, the Bronx.

Anyone wishing to donate to Thomas’s fund can send donations to The Thomas O’Sullivan Fund, 236 East 83rd St., New York, NY 100028.

Further information on the work of the Beth Isr’l Institute for Neurology and Neurosurgery can be found at: www.nyneurosurgery.org.

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