The brave three-year-old, who survived a deadly lung infection, beamed with delight as he released dozens of balloons at a “Meet your heroes” event at Cork Institute of Technology — first official event of the city and county’s flagship Gathering event.
Daniel, from Hollyhill, contracted the deadly Adenovirus 14 infection, commonly known as the killer cold virus, when he was just a week old.
Within a week, he was transferred to hospital in Sweden for specialist medical treatment.
He was placed on a heart and lung bypass machine for 53 days — the longest any known child has undergone this procedure.
He spent two months in Sweden and returned home where he spent five months in CUH — four of which were spent in intensive care.
He was discharged on Jan 17 2011 and has been in and out of hospital dealing with complications since.
He was chosen earlier this year to be the ambassador for the CUH Charity which was selected as the charity partner for Rebel Week.
The charity, which aims to raise €1.5m to revamp the hospital’s children’s unit, will benefit from tomorrow’s major fundraising initiative as part of Rebel Week.
Daniel’s dad, Vincent O’Sullivan, urged people to dig deep.
“The money you put in the bucket really will go towards making a better hospital for children,” he said.
“It’s an investment for themselves, and their kids’ kids. If everyone digs deep for the week, we’ll have a better hospital for everyone.”
Retired consultant Mick Molly, the chairman of CUH Charity, said they will have some 400 volunteers manning checkpoints at 40 venues across the city and county tomorrow.
“We’re aiming to raise €1.5m overall and we’re hoping this one-day charity event tomorrow will make a major input into that,” he said.
“It may sound too ambitious but there is a need for this level of investment because this children’s unit provides care to children all over Munster.
“The facilities are outdated — that’s the best way of putting it.
“What we are trying to achieve is better facilities for children and the parents visiting them.”
Among the sports stars at yesterday’s event were hurdler Derval O’Rourke, open water swimming legend Steve Redmond, world champion Rob Heffernan and his wife Marian, GAA stars Graham Canty and Pa Cronin, Munster rugby captain Peter O’Mahony, second-row forward Donnacha Ryan, Jessica O’Shea from the All Ireland winning Cork ladies football team, and Gemma Crowley, the manager of the Grand-slam winning Irish women’s rugby team.
Rebel Week continues today with a free public debate in City Hall tonight, chaired by former justice minister Nora Owen, on Cork’s involvement in the development of Ireland’s demand for independence during the 1916 rising and subsequent War of Independence. The debate begins at 7pm.