14 September 2017; Republic of Ireland assistant manager and former professional football player Roy Keane meets Tomás O'Sé, age 7, during a Meet and Greet with Roy Keane at Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, in Dublin 4. Photo by Cody Glenn/Sportsfile *** NO REPRODUCTION FEE ***

Seven year old Tomás O’ Sé from Midleton had a wish, and thanks to the people at the Make-A-Wish Ireland Foundation, it came true in September 2017.
A massive soccer enthusiast, who adores Manchester United, young Tomás was taken on a very special tour of the Aviva Stadium last autumn, where he met one of his heroes. It was a massive reward, and a well-deserved one, given the bravery he had shown over the previous three years. Thankfully, Tomás is now back to full health.
But, that wasn’t always the way as, going back three years ago, just as Tomás reached the age of four, he was diagnosed with a cancerous tumour. It was a very scary time for the student of the Gaelscoil in Midleton, along with his parents, Killian and Siobhan.
Speaking to the East Cork Journal, mum Siobhan said; ‘‘we found a little growth in his mouth. We brought him to the dentist and he was later sent to the CUH. We thought nothing of it. But, they removed the growth anyway. It was found to be a rare form of soft-tissue cancer. We were in Crumlin within a few days and Tomás was put on chemotherapy treatment. He then had to go to Germany for two months, for therapy treatment. It was very intensive. He was put to sleep every week day and basically given radium. He did his last course of chemotherapy the weekend of St Patrick’s Day in 2015.
‘‘He hasn’t looked back since. We were so lucky and the treatment did what it was supposed to do. Touch wood, everything is going so well for us. Now, he’s monitored very carefully. Look, he did lose his hair, and he did know there was something going on. You’re afraid and they’re afraid.’’
During one of his clinic appointments, the oncologist looking after Tomás told him and his family that he qualified for Make-A-Wish. The foundation aims to grant the wishes of children, aged between 3 and 17, who are living with life-threatening medical conditions. Tomás was set for a trip to the home of Irish soccer.
‘‘Make-A-Wish were very good. There’s a woman there called Cathy Elliott and she’s the wish-granting manager. She’s like a little fairy godmother! Even the experience of travelling to Dublin and not having scans or appointments – we were going on a happy occasion. SSE Airtricity were a partner for this wish. They both blew us away altogether, ’’ Siobhan said.
Tomás was given a special tour of the Aviva Stadium and when entering the dressing rooms, he spotted a personalised Ireland soccer jersey with his name on the back. It brought huge joy to Tomás. But, things were about to get even better.
‘‘We were in the dressing room and in strolls Roy Keane! We had such a great experience, he was so amazing. Tomás had gotten a notebook in the shape of a football, for his birthday. He had all his question written out!’’ Siobhan laughs. ‘‘They really hit it off. It was just dream stuff. Two weeks later, he got tickets to go to the Moldova game. He got to meet the team then after, ’’ Siobhan added.
Make-A-Wish have been making dreams come true for brave children in Ireland for over 25 years. Their 2018 Flag Day takes place on Friday 9 March and 150 local volunteers are needed for Wish Day here in Co Cork. If you can give up a few hours of your time on Friday 9th March, for a very worthy cause, please visit www.makeawish.ie/wishday or contact Daragh on (01) 2052011 / daragh@makeawish.ie

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