Poppy and Ava Lilly
“Poppy, my youngest, was rushed to Crumlin when she was nine days old. We learned that she had five heart defects and a lack of oxygen going to her brain. Within a couple of days she had her first open heart surgery. We were so terrified. Afterwards she showed some progress as she started moving her arms and her legs. It was the biggest relief in the world.
After about five months Poppy had her second open heart surgery. She spent three weeks in ICU and got back on the ward on New Year’s Day. It was such a long surgery on her body. She was in theatre for 10 hours. But she got stronger and continued to do better. After that she did physio and occupational therapy at home. She then had her third open heart surgery the following May. Since the third surgery she’s thrived, put on weight and is doing fantastically. She will need more open heart surgery and will probably have surgery this year. But she’s two and a half now, doing really well and she’s such a strong little girl.
As we settled back into a routine, my eldest daughter Ava Lilly, who is five, was tired and out of sorts with a pain in her arm. I booked an appointment to get her bloods done as I had an instinct that something was wrong. The morning of the appointment she had a terrible pain in her back and the doctor told us to go straight to the hospital. She was sent to Crumlin where I was told Ava had leukaemia and she got a bed on St John’s Ward. My husband was in the Lebanon with the defence forces so I told him he needed to come home and told him the news when he got back. Things happened really quickly after that. Ava started her treatment and Crumlin were just great. She was four at the time and the nurses sat down and explained everything to her. The first six months were the most intense. When she came home we got into a routine again but now we had two sick kids. Two very different conditions, but both patients at Crumlin.
Ava started school in September 2017 and her teacher and classmates are wonderful. She goes in on the days she’s feeling up to it because she’s still on treatment. She goes to clinic every four weeks and her treatment will last about two and a half years. It doesn’t faze her at all. She’s so placid and just gets on with it. Kids just don’t let things get to them. She did have her bad days. When she found out she would lose her hair she was very upset. But she got on with it and we got her so many bows and headbands. Our routine is entirely different now. We think about when Ava will need medication or if we’re going out for the day what medication we will need to bring with us.
Poppy is in crèche now and she’s going for an MRI in June. They’re hoping she’ll go for her next heart surgery in the summer. But we do have our normal days. When we don’t have hospital appointments the girls still go to school and we go out for day trips at the weekend. We’re all very positive. Ava actually loves going to clinic in Crumlin. Everyone is so good to her in the hospital that she enjoys her visits. Poppy is more feisty. We have so much love for Crumlin because without the treatment and care the girl’s received they wouldn’t be doing as well as they are.
Research is hope for any sick child. We need research to try and find a cure for childhood cancer. And for children with congenital heart defects research will improve the survival rates and improve treatments and surgery.”
- Ellen Moloney, Ava and Poppy's mum.