By Annamay McNally.
A POMEROY father is waiting on the go-ahead from a specialist team of doctors to allow him to give his seriously ill daughter the ultimate gift of life this summer.
Tatiana Silva, a P7 pupil of St Mary’s Primary School in the village, first experienced ill health two years ago and after many hospital appointments and medical investigations, the beautiful and bubbly little girl was diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease.
Both Tatiana’s kidneys were removed earlier this year, because they were causing her condition to deteriorate to such an extent, and the 11-year-old now travels three days a week to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast for dialysis.
Her father, Manuel, however, is hoping that at the beginning of July, he’ll be able to give Tatiana a new lease of life after he was found to be a suitable donor match.
Specialist transplant doctors from the City and Royal Hospitals in Belfast, and a leading hospital in Scotland, are on standby to carry out the procedure when Tatiana is strong enough, and in the meantime, her school and local community have come together to give the family ‘a token of love and support’ as they face this difficult journey.
The Herald was kindly invited to visit Tatiana, her mum and brothers and P7 teacher, Ursula Daly, at her school, which will be hosting a coffee morning and football tournament, in conjunction with Pomeroy Plunketts GFC, this Saturday morning.
And while many adults would struggle with travelling to hospital three times a week, every week, Tatiana takes her routine very much in her stride.
“I go to the hospital every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and we have to be there for 10.30am”, she explains.
“I have my dialysis for three hours. It doesn’t feel like anything and I don’t mind the needles any more.”
Tatiana’s teacher, Ursula, says it became clear when Tatiana was in P5 that her health was showing deterioration, “Tatiana would get very emotional and teary very easily, and she was always feeling tired. Nowadays she doesn’t go outside at break or dinner time and the machine in her arm (fistula) buzzes to indicate if her blood pressure is high or low.
“But Tatiana is very self-sufficient and knows when she isn’t feeling well, and she knows how much liquid she can take every day.”
While she is unable to join her classmates in the playground, Tatiana gave a special mention to her special pals for looking after her so well.
“Sarah and Erin are my best friends,” she tells me, as her face lights up.
“They stay inside with me at break and dinner times. I’m really excited about getting a new kidney, hopefully in July.
“My daddy is ready and I’m a bit nervous but mostly excited.”
The school’s coffee morning will run from 10am to 2pm this Saturday, June 8, alongside a ‘Clash of the Clans’ football tournament.
Local businesses and members of the community have taken the little girl into their hearts and Tatiana’s teacher, Ursula, thanked all those who have supported their fundraising efforts.
“Tatiana is a dream to have in St Mary’s and her smile enriches us beyond words,” she says.
“She never complains but instead graces us with her little unassuming beauty.
“As a school we’ve had Tatiana and her family in our hearts now for quite a while, we’ve prayed and sent love, we’ve shared gifts, but now we feel as a whole community we can send this family a token of our love and support when they need it most.
“As Tatiana attends dialysis three times per week, this had had a huge impact on the Silva family’s daily income. As a school community we want to provide support to Tatiana and her family to make life a little easier.”
•The school has an online fundraising page at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/stmarys-primaryschool-2 where donations will be gratefully received.
All are welcome to the school to enjoy a cuppa and some cake on Saturday morning from 10am onwards.