An emotional tribute will be paid to a 10 months old Derry baby at the Celtic v. Airdrie Scottish Cup tie tomorrow.
Beibhínn Hegarty-Devine was born a perfectly healthy baby, weighing over five pounds, in March last year.
However, her parents Kevin Hegarty and Carla Devine, received a devastating diagnosis a couple of months later after their precious little girl was admitted to hospital with a vomiting bug.
Baby Beibhinn was diagnosed with a rare, incurable disease.
“We took her to the hospital because she wasn’t keeping her feeds down,” dad Kevin explained. “Her condition began to deteriorate and she was ‘blue lighted’ up to Belfast.
“The following day the doctors told us they suspected Beibhínn had a Mitochondrial condition. We had never heard of it and we had no clue what it was. She had an MRI scan and that confirmed she had Mitochondrial Disease.”
The couple kept a vigil at their precious daughter’s bedside in ICU for the next eight months.
“There isn’t much awareness about the disease. It is a really complex condition and it slows the whole body down. They can pinpoint the gene which causes the condition but there is no cure.”
Kevin said Beibhínn, who was affectionately known as the ‘wee pink lady’ as she was always dressed in pink, was awake and alert during her stay in hospital.
“She knew you were there and would be gripping your fingers and moving arms and legs. She wasn’t in pain, but she got more and more tired over the eight months.
“We never left, apart from once every couple of weeks, that was our whole life.”
The family eventually requested that Beibhínn be moved to the Children’s Hospice as her condition deteriorated further.
“They moved her intensive care equipment over to the hospice and it was perfect in the end because the hospice is a completely different environment to the hospital. She was a wee queen bee sitting up there andour family and siblings were able visit and spend time with her.”
Tragically Beibhínn passed away on January 8 last, and the family fittingly wore pink at her funeral.
The whole family are fervent Celtic supporters and fellow supporters of the Scottish champions have rallied around the local couple.
In fact, tomorrow afternoon at 5.15 p.m. as Celtic host Airdrie in the Scottish Cup, balloons will be released in an emotional tribute to Beibhínn during the first minute of the game.
“Celtic fans are just amazing. Social media can be a good thing and a bad thing at times,” Kevin said. “But we are drawing support from comments and messages on social media. It’s unbelievable.”