THE mother of a profoundly disabled boy who was unable to speak and almost blind has paid tribute to him following his passing at the weekend saying that he was a fighter who had "the most infectious of smiles."
Mark Kearney Clifford (10) from Arcnacloughy, Ballylickey, Bantry, Co Cork was spastic quadriplegic.
Earlier this year, the High Court approved an interim payment under a settlement of his action over the circumstances of his birth at Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH).
Through his mother Grace, Mark had sued the HSE arising out of the circumstances of his birth.
It was claimed there was failure to perform a C Section in sufficient time or to prevent the infant from suffering from hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy. The claim was disputed by the HSE.
His mother Grace said that his condition deteriorated in recent weeks.
“We felt his body was shutting down and we kept him at home. I just wanted him home.
"Mark was a beautiful boy who was always smiling. He had the most infectious smile. We always knew his life expectancy was never great but he was a fighter.
"He almost died four years ago but he fought back and we got four more wonderful years with him.
"We got to spend his last days at home where he was surrounded by family in an atmosphere full of love.
"Mark finally let go and I believe he went on his terms. He was always smiling and he was even smiling when he slipped into a coma.
"He was such a special little boy who brought us great joy.”
Meanwhile, Bumbleance the Children’s National Ambulance Service has offered its condolences to the family of little Mark.
“Mary and Tony Heffernan and the whole BUMBLEance team wish to express their deepest sympathies to the family of 10-year-old King Bee Mark Clifford from Co Cork who grew his angel wings on 7th August.
"It was our privilege to have known Mark and his warm smile will remain with us forever. Our thoughts are with you all.”
Mark's funeral took place in accordance with government and HSE guidelines.
The funeral cortège left Mark’s home on Sunday morning arriving at St Joseph’s Church, Coomhola for his funeral Mass followed by burial in Kilmacomogue Cemetery.
Mark died at home in the loving embrace of his family. He is survived by his parents Grace and Darren and his siblings Charlie, Mia and Bobby.
In the death notice, the family said that Mark was “exceptionally cared for” by an outstanding medical team of wonderful nurses, doctors and carers.
“He will live forever in our hearts and never be forgotten.”
In the High Court earlier this year when approving the interim payment for the next five years, Mr Justice Kevin Cross thanked Mark’s parents for their exceptional care of the youngster.
In a letter to the judge, Grace Kearney said her son has taught the family “to take every day as it comes and be grateful for the love we are surrounded by.”
She added: “I am tired of the fighting for justice for Mark. Darren and I want to leave the court today and return home to be the best parents to Mark and his siblings that we can be.”