Heartbroken Clonmel family suffers fourth loss to cystic fibrosis

Eamon Lacey

Reporter:

Eamon Lacey

Email:

elacey@nationalist.ie

Heartbroken Clonmel family suffers fourth loss to cystic fibrosis

A sense of profound grief has enveloped a Clonmel family after losing a fourth member to cystic fibrosis following the death  of forty four year old Kieran Hickey from Kilmacomma in a Dublin Hospital.

Devastated parents Michael and Bridie , who have endured the  passing of cystic  fibrosis sufferers Kay, Brian and Laois, are mourning the loss of their brother Kieran who passed away in St.Vincents Hospital  in Dublin.

Michael,  has been recognised by Cystic Fibrosis Ireland for his lifetime of dedication to cystic fibrosis sufferers all over Ireland  and his incredible fundraising achievements.Kieran is also survived by his brother Micheal, sister in law Marie, nephews Brian and Ciaran,niece Ailish,aunts,uncles, cousins and friends.

 

 

Kieran’s funeral will arrive at St. Mary’s Church, Irishtown, Clonmel at 7.30pm on Thursday evening (11th January 2018). Funeral Mass on Friday at 12 noon followed by burial in Touraneena Cemetery. Family flowers only please. Donations, if desired, to Cystic Fibrosis Unit, St. Christopher’s Ward, St. Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin.

The first member of the Hickey family to pass away from CF was one year old Laois who died in 1969,  fifteen year old Kay
died in 1982   and Brian died in 1996
aged 25. 

 

 

Their parents  Michael and Bridie   have  worked tirelessly for families of cystic fibrosis sufferers and was  been given a special recognition award by Cystic Fibrosis Ireland.

Even while coping with difficulty in his own family, Michael has been a support to other families, serving as the chairman of the Tipperary Branch of Cystic Fibrosis Ireland since 1984. In all Michael and his wife Bridie have been involved with the Tipperary branch of CFI for 47 years.

At a Cystic Fibrosis Ireland’s ‘Better Together’ conference in Galway, some years ago Michael was honoured with the special recognition award as his friends and colleagues marked his retirement as the local branch chairman, a role he held for 27 years.

Michael was also honoured by the local regional group TLC4CF, who are fundraising for a specialised CF unit at Limerick Regional Hospital, in thanks for all his support for the project.

The awards were a special thank you to a man who has dedicated most of his life to helping and supporting others in his community and were presented by CFI ambassador and GAA pundit Joe Brolly.

Paying tribute to the family Philip Watt,Cystic Fibrosis Chief Executive Officer said Michael and Bridie were held in such high esteem in the cystic fibrosis community in Ireland.

"Nobody should be visited by this in their lifetime.To lose four children, we just cannot imagine the scale of the loss .Our love and condolences go out to all the family.Despite all of the challenges they faced in their own family they also  devoted themselves to helping so many others," said Philip Watt CEO.

He described Kierans parents  Michael and  Bridie  as "truly wonderful people"  and paid tribute to  the very significant  role they played   in raising funds for the new CF unit in Limerick Hospital  which was spearheaded by the Tipperary,Clare and Limerick CF branches.

In 2013 Cystic Fibrosis Ireland brought out a book "For The Roses"  to tell the stories of families around the country who are dealing with cystic fibrosis.

The following is an excerpt from the book   on Michael  Hickey and his family.

Michael Hickey (above) is a youthful 75 years of age and is a long-time volunteer
and Chairperson of the Tipperary branch of the CFAI. Michael and
Bridie Hickey live in Clonmel. They have had five children, of whom


four were born with CF. They lost three of their children to CF. Kay
died in 1982 aged 15, Laois died in 1969 aged 1 and Brian died in 1996
aged 25. Their son Kierán, who also has CF, will be 40 years old in July.
Michael is their only child without CF.
Michael shares with us his memories of Kay,
‘Kay was a lovely bright child and attended the local Presentation College
in Clonmel. I can’t speak highly enough of the nuns who were her teachers,
they really looked after and encouraged her. Even though Kay was ill, she
was determined to sit her mock exams for the Junior Cert. The school was
very helpful and arranged for her to sit her exams in Ardkeen Hospital in
Waterford, but before she could take her exams, she suddenly took a turn for
the worse and she died surrounded by her books.’
Michael remembers his son Brian,
‘Brian was 25 when he died in 1996. He was big into cars and was the
proud owner of the registration 92TS1. He was being treated in St Vincent’s
Hospital under the excellent care of Dr. Muiris FitzGerald. Brian knew he
was dying and asked to be taken home to Tipperary. Dr. FitzGerald only
agreed after some persuasion as he knew that there was nothing left that could
be done for Brian but he did not think he could survive the journey home.
Just as we arrived back to our house, Brian tore the oxygen mask off his face
and threw it over his shoulder and asked for Bridie to come out to him in
the car. He told us ‘mam and dad I love you’. I carried him into the sitting
room where he died peacefully in a chair. I think it made a huge difference to
him to be allowed die at home. Brian was very close to his sister Kay. When
Kay died, Brian was only 12 at the time but he said when it was his time to
die, he wanted to be buried on the outside of the family plot with Kay in the
middle for protection. Father O’Brien, our Parish Priest was very moved and
he made sure Brian got his final wish.’
Despite the grief of losing three children to CF Michael says,
‘We are blessed to be parents of five loving, caring and compassionate
children. There are many in the world who are worse off than us. We still
have two wonderful sons, Kieran and Michael, and we have three lovely
grandchildren.’