By Elizabeth Lee
ALMOST 20 factory workers have pledged to shave, dye or wax their hair in a bid to raise vital funds to help their colleague’s son, two-year-old Aidan Maher, who’s just been diagnosed with an incurable and debilitating condition.
Little Aidan can’t ingest food, is in constant pain and has to be nourished artificially by hooking up to a machine for 17 hours a day. Aidan and his parents Nigel and Josephine from Tullow have just returned from a trip to Great Ormond Steet Hospital, London, where he was finally diagnosed with having a rare and incurable condition in his intestines, having attended Crumlin Children’s Hospital for treatment all of his short life.
He’s just been diagnosed as having intestinal pseudo-obstruction, or CIPO, which prevents food, fluid and air from moving through his stomach and intestines, for which there is no cure. His parents are taking care of him at home in Tullow, where Aidan has to be hooked up to an intravenous feeding tube for 17 hours every day.
Aidan attends Crumlin at least once a week and is facing into two surgeries, one of which will be carried out in Great Ormond Street Hospital. The little tyke has already spent more than half his life in Crumlin as he’s so vulnerable that even a slight cold can send him back to hospital. Aidan is the adored little brother of Conor (18), Darren (16), Róisín (14) and Kieran (13), for whom he is the light of their lives.
“Aidan is just amazing. He’s always amazing in our eyes. Behind his canvas, there’s always so much going on. He struggles, but he’s so brave,” his adoring mother Josephine explained.
Now, Nigel’s colleagues in Pilgrim’s Food Masters, Shillelagh are taking part in a shave or dye challenge, organised by Taragh Keogh, to raise funds to help the Maher family with huge ongoing expenses. The event is taking place this Thursday, 10 November, when they hope to raise €10,000 to help the family.
Josephine said that Nigel’s workplace has been incredibly supportive of his family since they first learnt of Aidan’s condition. Allowing Nigel to work from home means that he and Josephine can take care of Aidan themselves, although the pressure and gravity of the situation never eases for them.
“Both Nigel and I have been trained to work Aidan’s machines. It’s not easy and it never stops. It’s a constant worry every day. There’s no escaping it,” said Josephine.
The family are deeply appreciative of all the support they’ve received so far and are amazed that so many people want to help.
They’re also immensely proud of little Aidan who, despite the constant pain and discomfort, lives his little life as best he can with his love of music and toys.
Donations can be made through GoFundMe on the ‘Shave or Dye in Aid of Baby Aidan’ page.