16 October 2021
By Tom Collins
The Leukemia Unit at the Mercy University Hospital has undergone some “wild” changes. The unit, which treats some of the youngest patients at the Mercy, has recently announced its name change from St Bernadette’s Ward to the more child friendly name of the Safari Unit. With approximately 30-40 patients receiving treatment on the ward each year, staff and hospital management hope the new changes will help to make the experience of being in hospital a little easier for its youngest patients.
Highlighting the name change to the Safari Unit, new, vibrant signage has been added to the main doors and walls to brighten the area and help to make young patients feel more at ease. The new signage has been funded by the Mercy University Hospital Foundation through generous donations from the public to its ongoing Kids & Teens Appeal.
Speaking about the changes, Dr Clodagh Ryan, Consultant Paediatric Haematologist in the Mercy Hospital said “On behalf of the Safari Unit, St. Anne’s Ward, I would like to thank the Mercy Hospital Foundation and it’s supporters for the brightening up of the entrance to the unit. It has made it very welcoming, particularly to the children we treat and their families; and it has been admired by all.”
Diagnosed in 2019 with neurofibromatosis, a condition which causes tumours to grow on nerves, 4 year old Alannah Foley from Killorglin, Co. Kerry is one of the many patients who benefits from the support of the Mercy Kids & Teens Appeal. Discussing their journey so far, Alannah’s mom, Geraldine, said “Alannah was just 2 years old when she was diagnosed. The staff in the Mercy have been a huge help to all of us along the way. They’re great with Alannah and help to keep her smiling through it all. Support from the Kids & Teens Appeal has made things a little easier too. Things like the new signage might seem small, but it makes a huge difference when you spend so much time on the ward.”
Alannah is one of five young patients who recently helped to launch the upcoming Mercy Heroes campaign which will raise funds for the Kids & Teens Appeal. Taking place on Friday, October 22nd, you can get involved by making a donation online at www.mercyhospitalfoundation.ie or by joining forces with your friends, family or colleagues to host a virtual or in-person coffee morning. Schools are also being encouraged to join in the fun by holding a Dress Up/Dress Down Day to support these young heroes.
All funds raised will go towards the Mercy Kids & Teens Appeal and will support upgrades like those made to the Leukemia unit, as well as services like POONS (Pediatric Oncology Outreach Nursing Service.) This unique service allows children like Alannah to receive some of their treatment in the comfort of their own home and makes a huge difference for patients and their families by helping to cut back on the number of hospital visits.
For more information or to get involved, visit www.mercyhospitalfoundation.ie or contact Deirdre on 085 8745489.