Shankill family chosen as new face of LauraLynn Christmas appeal

by Rebecca Ryan

[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]A Shankill family have been chosen to be the face of this year’s LauraLynn Christmas appeal.

Barry and Mairead Jones are parents to Molly, aged 7, Cara, aged 5 and Elsie, aged 4.

Molly was born with Ring Chromosome 18, General Development Delay and a serious heart condition.

On December 21, 2010, Barry and Mairead went to Holles Street hospital as their first baby was on her way.

Molly was born weighing just 6lbs and struggling to breathe. Among other complications, an ECG revealed that Molly also had a heart murmur and doctors told the new parents that their daughter’s chance of survival was incredibly slim.

Molly’s mam Mairead said: “That’s when our fairy-tale turned into a nightmare. Our tiny baby had just arrived, and we were already getting ready to say goodbye.”

Molly’s dad Barry told Dublin Gazette it was a “real shock to the system.” “You don’t expect it. Doctors told us to come in and take as many pictures as you can. They said her condition wasn’t compatible with life. We spoke about her funeral. My parents offered us a grave plot they had if it came to it.”

For the next few days Barry and Mairead spent every moment with their little girl. They sang her lullabies and dressed her in all the outfits they thought she would never get to wear home.

Molly Jones

Against all odds, 18 days later, Molly was taken home and will soon be celebrating her eighth birthday on the December 21.

Barry said that Molly is a “determined” and “fierce” little girl and they use a quote from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream to describe her: “Though she be but little, she is fierce.”

Molly needs constant care and monitoring. She is non-verbal, her sight and hearing are impaired, she has heart and liver issues, scoliosis and a high risk of a bleed in her oesophagus among many other health difficulties.

She has a different consultant in Crumlin for every organ in her body. Barry said keeping up with it all can “take its toll” on the family and that LauraLynn has been such an incredible support.

“It’s like a home from home, Molly really gets a lot out of it. Usually she would stay overnight. They’re very much focused on Molly and what her needs are. They’re really really great [and] it gives the family a chance to breath which is so valuable.”

This year LauraLynn has to raise €4.2million in funding to help continue providing vital services to their children and families.

Barry, along with his family and friends, are donating to LauraLynn instead of buying gifts this Christmas.

If you would like to get behind LauraLynn’s appeal you can donate, or find out how to help, at www.lauralynn.ie/ how-to-help[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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