Meet Niall Craig, the brave four-year-old from Dungiven who is battling cancer.
The determined and bubbly youngster was devastatingly diagnosed with a cancerous tumour last month. His parents say that since then they have been flooded with messages of support from well wishers, some from people they don’t even know.
“The support has been amazing and I think because things have happened so quickly, it has helped us to get on with things,” says Niall’s mum, Caroline Craig.
“People are very good and that means a lot,” says Niall’s dad, Damien Kealey, “and we want people to know that.”
After spending some time in hospital and at home, Niall’s treatment has started and will continue for the next two months. Some of the tumour has been removed, and Caroline and Damien have been told it was detected early on.
The couple say their son is a determined soul and has overcome everything thrown at him in the past month.
“We look at Niall and how young he is and everything he is going through. He isn’t crying so we won’t cry. He just gets on with it,” says Caroline. “He is the best boy ever. He’s so brave, and he never complains.”
Locally, people have been rallying to support the family. A one-off, three-mile charity walk for Niall has been organised for Sunday May 5 in Dungiven.
Among those supporting the walk is Niall’s idol, Dungiven boxing champ Paul McCloskey.
“Niall is unbelievable, just a great wee fella,” says Paul. “I was told he was a big fan of boxing, and I was a bit of an idol to him, so I went to see the wee man and I gave him a set of boxing gloves. He’s fantastic.”
Paul says no matter what goes on in Dungiven the community always rallies to give their support.
“Niall is a young child and he’s sick and we want to give him and his family all the support he needs and deserves,” says Paul.
“Look at the support wee Oscar Knox had. I mean, that’s bound to have a positive impact. Dungiven might be a small community, but we’re a close community. I know we all like it when things are good but it’s important to be there and give our support when things aren’t so good, so I hope everyone comes out and supports the walk.”
(Read Niall’s story on P9)