As our thoughts once again turn to Christmas and the arrival of the man in the big red suit, one local youngster has recalled how his festive wish came true earlier this year thanks to the Lapland Trust.
Five years old Tiernan McHenry from Claudy, who was diagnosed with Haemophilia when he was just eight weeks old, travelled with the charity to Lapland where he got to the meet the real Santa, some reindeers, some elves and explore a real winter wonderland.
His mother Nicola explained that her son was nominated to travel with the Lapland Trust, which gives children with long term or life limiting illnesses the chance to have a once-in-a-lifetime trip to meet Santa, by community nurses in the Waterside.
Tiernan has been living with his condition since was just eight weeks old, when Nicola noticed bruising to his back when she was bathing him.
“He was taken to hospital where they did blood tests and it was discovered he has the most severe form of Haemophilia - in that his body makes no Factor 8, the natural clotting agent.”
While still a baby and not very mobile, this didn’t pose much of a problem for Tiernan but as he grew and became more adventurous, as all little boys do, Nicola said she had to keep a very close eye on him.
“It’s not just a matter of worrying if he cuts himself, if he bangs himself or is bumped he can start bleeding internally into his joints and muscles, which can be very painful.”
The plucky five year has to receive Factor 8 several times a week, and will have to receive it for the rest of his life. He has to avoid all sorts of contact sports or games. But Nicola says, he just gets on with it.
His day in Lapland however, will be one he will never forget. “We saw husky dogs, and reindeers, and Santa’s very own house and we even went out on a frozen lake.
“Santa even gave me a reindeer bell to take home with me and my own certificate.”
Nicola said the day was very special for both her and Tiernan who is in P2 at St. Colmcille’s in Claudy. “It’s a day we won’t ever forget,” she said.
To help support the Lapland Trust you can phone 0754 2852825 or visit www.niclt.org (secure online donations).