Billy is the ‘most amazing superhero of all’

Brave Billy Kiely from Charleville, who suffers from the rare progressive disease Hunters syndrome, has been named Child Hero of the Year.
Billy is the ‘most amazing superhero of all’

Billy, 11, was nominated by his mum Christine Shanahan.

Hunters syndrome is a rare progressive disease that causes painful joints, heart problems, and enlarged liver and spleen, along with delay in development and speech problems.

Billy is almost completely deaf and suffers painful carpal tunnel in his hands. Every week, he endures a four-hour infusion to try to slow the progression of his disease. Along with other endless appointments and procedures, Billy also needs physio and occupational therapy.

However, despite all the difficulties he faces, he has never let his illnesses get him down. He loves nothing better than going to school to be with his friends and just being a normal child.

His mum Christine said she believes she is the mother of a superhero and has the most rewarding job in the world.

“Billy is a superhero and the bravest boy I know. I may be a little biased, but everyone who knows Billy is blown away by his courage, his constant smile and infectious laugh. Even though every day is a battle for him he never lets the pain get to him and always manages to put a smile on everyone’s face. I would love if you could recognise this amazing little boy with this award. Billy loves Superman, Spiderman and all the superheroes but, to us, he is the most amazing superhero of all,” she said.

His dad Will also paid tribute to Billy’s national school, St Patrick’s in Bruree in Limerick, which has given Billy the best school experience possible.

“Billy loves school so much that his mum and I joke that he must be the only child in Ireland that hates the summer holidays. As a family, we are particularly grateful to all the staff at St Patrick’s, especially the principal, Jimmy Wolf, and Billy’s special seeds assistant Eileen O’Connell. They have gone above and beyond to ensure Billy has the best school experience and we’ll be forever indebted to them,” he said.

Billy was one of the many parents and children from all around the country honoured in the ninth annual Boots Maternity and Infant Awards

The head of marketing at Boots Ireland, Gillian Hennessey, said the awards were about “recognising unsung heroes” and meeting “inspirational people from all across Ireland and sharing their remarkable stories”.

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