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Since Margaret's son died in Crumlin, she's raised €1.25m for the hospital

Michael was just one year old when he passed away in 1986.

Image: Shutterstock

MARGARET STONE’S SON Michael died when he was just one year old.

He was in Limerick Regional Hospital for a month, but went undiagnosed.

On the advice of a neighbour, Margaret asked for Michael to be transferred to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin.

She recalls having a “dispute” with a doctor over the issue, telling him: “The bottom line of it is I’m taking my son out of here today, with or without a transfer.”

Am ambulance was arranged to bring him to Dublin that afternoon. Within 24 hours he was diagnosed with liver disease.

Michael had part of his bowel removed to make bile ducts for his liver.

He was on the transplant waiting list, but never reached the necessary weight of 13.5 lbs. He died three-and-a-half months after his diagnosis.

Margaret said this was a “very difficult and trying time” for her and her husband John, who had another young son, John Jnr, to also look after.

Many is the night we came home [from the hospital] and we had go back an hour or two later because he wasn’t well.

A few months after Michael’s death, Margaret and John started fundraising for Crumlin.

“We said we’d raise £10,000. In the first year we made £22,000.”

mag stone Margaret (far left) and John Snr (far right) with their son John Jnr, his wife Lyndsey and their children Layla and Jacob.

In the last three decades, their efforts have raised €1.25 million for the hospital – through table quizzes, walks, cycles, golf classics and other events in their hometown of Nenagh in Tipperary and beyond.

People supported it because so many people knew a family with a child in the hospital.

Margaret’s grandson Jacob was born with two holes in his heart and had to spend some time in Crumlin last year.

“They were excellent to him and they were so good and so nice.”

Jacob is now doing well and back at home with his sister Layla and parents John and Lyndsey.

Margaret is now taking a step back from fundraising, 29 years on from when she first started, to help look after her father.

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“I feel that I’ve done my bit,” she said modestly.

Children's Medical & Research... - Children's Medical & Research Foundation, Our Lady's Children's Hospital | Facebook Children at a CMRF fundraising event Source: Children's Medical & Research Foundation, Our Lady's Children's Hospital

Margaret said every donation helps, no matter how small.

[Crumlin] won’t survive without the donations from the public and corporations. I know times are hard but people need to give a little.

The Children’s Medical & Research Foundation (CMRF), the fundraising arm of Crumlin Hospital and the National Children’s Research Centre, has just celebrated its 50th anniversary.

It has raised over €100 million in the last five decades.

Children's Medical & Research... - Children's Medical & Research Foundation, Our Lady's Children's Hospital | Facebook A CMRF fundraising event Source: Children's Medical & Research Foundation, Our Lady's Children's Hospital

CMRF has funded the children’s cancer ward twice – once in the early 1980s and again in the past year, as well as the children’s heart centre, the only designated paediatric burns unit in Ireland, and much more.

More information on its work is available here.

Read: ‘Our little boy always wanted to be a superhero and he became one in death’

Read: 18-week-old baby Jessica still has smiles for her family as she waits for a heart transplant

About the author:

Órla Ryan

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