By Stephen Maguire
A desperate mother has invited the health minister to visit her ill son screaming in pain as he awaits an operation to fix his spine.
Jason Hanlon has required constant care since being born with health complications.
Despite being in a wheelchair, he has always been a happy and contented young man, according to his family.
However, in recent years, Jason, 26, has developed scoliosis and is now in constant pain.
Jason, from Doochary, Co Donegal, is on a list for a vital operation to fix the curvature of his spine at Tallaght Hospital.
That operation has now been put back on two occasions.
His mother Liz fears he will not be operated on until next year as he cannot undergo a procedure during the winter months due to fears of infection.
“Jason has had many challenges since birth but, despite this, he has always been a happy and contented child and we always cared for him,” Liz said.
But the progression of scoliosis has turned his life into a living hell for himself and for all of us.
“He is in constant pain and we are feeding him painkillers which are not doing him any good. His bowels are suffering as a result and I’m just not sure how long he can take this.
“This will kill him in the end and time is running out.”
Liz said she appreciates there are other people on the waiting list for similar operations but she simply cannot stand by and watch her son suffer.
She invited Health Minister Simon Harris to come to Donegal to see for himself the agony her son is going through on a daily basis.
“If he could hear the screams of Jason then he might do something about it. Nobody should have to go through this,” she said.
“He is in constant pain and to hear his cries day and night is just heartbreaking for us as a family.
“Perhaps if the minister heard his pain firsthand then it would prove to him how quickly Jason needs this operation.”
Jason is cared for by his family, including sister Aine and brother Adrian, a former Donegal GAA star.
Aine said that seeing her brother in constant pain is something she cannot take much longer.
“To sit and watch my brother scream 24/7 with tears streaming down his wee face and not being able to explain to him what is happening to his own body is, as you can imagine, heartbreaking.
“We can only hope that there is an answer soon and that his suffering eases; we’re a very angry and upset family willing to fight every step of the way for our Jason. We will never stop fighting his corner and, as a family, we will be your voice for you, Jason.”