A SIX-YEAR-OLD schoolboy was flying high yesterday after meeting the air ambulance crew that helped save his life.
Conor Reidy visited the Air Corps in Baldonnel to say thank you to the pilot and airmen who flew him to London for a liver transplant.
Despite months of gruelling treatment, the youngster, who suffered from a childhood liver cancer called hepatoblastoma, can still recall his early morning trip in the AW139 helicopter on August 11, 2009.
“Now I can see everybody that flew me. Thank you,” added the first-class pupil at St Mary’s Boys National School in Booterstown.
Conor was diagnosed with the rare condition in April 2009 after complaining about a pain in his stomach which got progressively worse.
Within six days he began chemotherapy and his parents, Gerardine and Michael, said he lost his hair, energy and bubbly personality.
But the location of the tumour meant Conor, then five, would only survive if the liver was removed.
Within five days of being on the transplant list he was airlifted to Kings College Hospital for emergency surgery.
Mr Reidy said the family wanted to personally thank Captain Anne Brogan and the crew for their role in saving Conor’s life.
“He is in fantastic form now,” said Mr Reidy. “He is back in school with all of his friends. He is happy, he’s healthy, he’s vibrant and everything about him is literally back to normal.”
Last year, 80 Air Ambulance missions were flown, with 44 missions carried out to date in 2010.
Capt Brogan, the Defence Forces’ only female helicopter pilot, said the crew was grateful to see their young patient.
“The last time we saw him he was lovely in the aircraft, but he was a sick little boy. He was so weak and so quiet,” she said.
“To see him now full of life, full of chat, it’s great. He’s a bucket of personality.”
Mr Reidy is also writing a book which will tell the story of Conor’s journey to recovery.
All the proceeds of A Lot Can Happen In A Year And A Half will be donated to St John’s Cancer Ward in Crumlin Children’s Hospital.
Picture: Six-year-old Conor Reidy sits in a Eurocopter AW 139 helicopter with captain Anne Brogan during his visit to the Air Corps in Baldonnel
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved