Alannah Foley from Killorglin with her dad Andrew enjoying the new signage at the Mercy Hospital Safari Unit. Photo: Adrian O’Herlihy

Wild changes at the Mercy

The Mercy Hospital’s leukemia unit has undergone some “wild” changes including some vibrant new signage and a brand new name!

The unit, which treats some of the youngest patients at the Mercy, has announced its name change from St Bernadette’s Ward to the more child-friendly name of the Safari Unit.

With approximately 30-40 patients receiving treatment on the ward each year, staff and hospital management hope the new changes will help to make the experience of being in hospital a little easier for its youngest patients.

To highlight the unit’s new name, some bright and colourful new signage has been added to the main doors and walls in order to make young patients feel more at ease during their time there.

The new signage has been funded by the Mercy University Hospital Foundation through donations from the public to its ongoing Kids & Teens Appeal.

Speaking about the changes, Dr Clodagh Ryan, Consultant Paediatric Haematologist in the Mercy Hospital, said: “On behalf of the Safari Unit, St Anne’s Ward, I would like to thank the Mercy Hospital Foundation and its supporters for the brightening up of the entrance to the unit. It has made it very welcoming, particularly to the children we treat and their families, and it has been admired by all.”

Diagnosed in 2019 with neurofibromatosis, a condition which causes tumours to grow on nerves, four year old Alannah Foley from Killorglin, Co Kerry is one of the many patients who benefit from the support of the Mercy Kids & Teens Appeal.

Looking back on their journey so far, Alannah’s mom Geraldine, said her daughter was just two years old when she was diagnosed.

“The staff in the Mercy have been a huge help to all of us along the way. They’re great with Alannah and help to keep her smiling through it all. Support from the Kids & Teens Appeal has made things a little easier too. Things like the new signage might seem small, but it makes a huge difference when you spend so much time on the ward.”

Alannah is one of five young patients who recently helped to launch the upcoming Mercy Heroes campaign which will raise funds for the Kids & Teens Appeal.

The campaign will take place on 22 October and the public is encouraged to get involved by making a donation at, or by teaming up with friends, family or colleagues to host a virtual or in-person coffee morning.

Schools are also being encouraged to join in the fun by holding a Dress Up/Dress Down Day to support these young heroes.

All funds raised will go towards the Mercy Kids & Teens Appeal and will support upgrades like those made to the leukemia unit, as well as services like POONS (Pediatric Oncology Outreach Nursing Service.)

This unique service allows children like Alannah to receive some of their treatment in the comfort of their own home and makes a huge difference for patients and their families by helping to cut back on the number of hospital visits.

For more information or to get involved, visit or contact Deirdre on 085-8745489.