Woman in plea for permanent home so son can seek surgery

Child in danger of losing out on life-saving transplant because his family is homeless

Helen Lynch (25), who has been homeless in Tullamore for much of the last year, says she needs a permanent address in order for her son Charlie to go on the transplant list at King’s College Hospital in London. Image: Google Street View.

Helen Lynch (25), who has been homeless in Tullamore for much of the last year, says she needs a permanent address in order for her son Charlie to go on the transplant list at King’s College Hospital in London. Image: Google Street View.

 

A woman whose 6-year-old son is in the final stages of liver disease has issued a plea to Offaly County Council to find them a permanent home to ensure he qualifies for a waiting list for life-saving surgery.

Helen Lynch (25), who has been homeless in Tullamore for much of the last year, says she needs a permanent address in order for her son to go on the transplant list at King’s College Hospital in London.

Her son, Charlie, was diagnosed with liver disease when he was only a month old and is now in urgent need of proof of permanent accomodation before the pair travel to England for an appointment at the hospital next week.

“The liver transplant must be carried out at King’s College Hospital and the doctors have informed me that I need to be in a house where I can control Charlie’s health,” she said.

Currently staying with family in Tullamore, Ms Lynch is moving between her mother and brothers’ houses but she needs accommodation where she can ensure a sterile environment after the transplant takes place

“It’s very hard. Dragging the kids from one house to the next. They don’t know where their home is for the last year. My mother has an awful lot of medical illnesses herself. She has a wheelchair and walkers and the house she’s in is very small,” she said.

“Charlie’s going to need constant care after his transplant.”.

Ms Lynch said that without proof of permanent accommodation, Charlie could miss out on an opportunity to expedite his treatment at next week’s assessment.

“We’re due to go over for his initial assessment to be placed on the liver transplant list. Now, the problem is we could go for the assessment but if they think Charlie should go on the active list there and then - which they probably will because he’s in the final stages of liver disease - he won’t be placed on that list without (having) permanent accommodation.”

Having survived with the disease since an early age, she says a transplant is now the only treatment option open to Charlie.

“We’re on a timeline here and I feel as if my child’s life is on a countdown timer,” Ms Lynch said.

“It’s a nightmare for any parent to have to go through. It’s hard enough dealing with the transplant on its own but to be told that he might not have the chance to get the transplant because of a house is worse. To think that four walls is all that it would take to save my child’s life and that I can’t get it.”

Ms Lynch says she has exhausted every avenue in her attempts to get a house and social worker Sandra McDonagh, of Offaly Traveller Movement, has been advocating on her behalf.

“I’ve met with a few politicians and they’ve been on to the council for me. But, it’s basically the council that needs to buck up and do something. I’ve tried private landlords, I’ve tried talking to landlords. It’s no good - there’s nothing available in Tullamore. The housing crisis in Tullamore is ridiculous.”

“To be honest with you, I’ve lost hope. I don’t know what else I can do. I’ve done everything I can possibly think of. I’ve begged them, I’ve gone up there crying my eyes out to them, begging them to help me.”

She was told of houses due to come on-stream next year but Ms Lynch says she doesn’t have the time to spare.

“They said they got 29 houses off Nama to be given out next year but I don’t have until next year. I haven’t got until next year to wait. I have a matter of days and if you leave out the weekend I have just two working days before I’m due to fly out”

“If I haven’t got an address to hand them if they want to put him on the list, he won’t be put on the list.”

She said it was now up to the council.

“I’m not calling on them, I am begging the council to hurry up and do not let my child to die over a house. He’s worth a lot more than that to me and surely their kids are worth a lot more than that to them.”

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