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Cork Independent


Courage award for Tom Tom

Wednesday, 7th November, 2018 4:50pm

“He was pricked like a pin cushion. He had bloods taken from nearly every vein in his hands, and even at one stage from his ankle, but being the little superhero he is, he always pulled through.”

Those are the harrowing words of Paula Cahill, mother of four year old Tom, who will this month receive an award for being so courageous during his chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

Known as Tom Tom, the little boy from Midleton is doing very well, having finished treatment 16 months ago.

Tom Tom, who started Montessori school in September, will receive his National Children of Courage Award at the Share a Dream Ball on 24 November, along with seven other children.

He was nominated by neighbours and friends who as well as wanting to award Tom Tom, they wanted to award his two brothers Jack and Charlie for being so good during Tom Tom’s treatment through the years.

Paula told the Cork Independent: “He’s doing very well. We had an appointment in October and the doctors were very happy with him and we’re not back again until January for his next visit.

“We’re getting back to a new normal. He’s looking forward to Santa coming and has already started to make a list for him.”

Tom Tom lost all his hair during his treatment but things have really turned around for him and his health.

He is off to the barbers this week and he has told his mother that he wants a number one around the sides.
However it hasn’t been always been good for Tom Tom. 
Tom’s parents Paula and James were both devastated when on 14 February 2016 they were told that Tom Tom had a tumour the size of a grapefruit growing on his left kidney.
The next day, Tom was transferred by ambulance to Crumlin. After five weeks of travelling up to Crumlin for more chemo, Tom had his surgery on 18 March and the tumour and his left kidney were removed. 
A week later his parents got the great news that Tom Tom's tumour was benign and there was no need for any further treatment.
In October 2016, his parents got married, but four weeks after returning from their wedding and honeymoon Tom Tom was back in hospital in a critical condition. 
This lifesaving surgery inserted three drains into his chest to drain the blood and air from his lungs. He got his first dose of major chemo, and two days later, his hair started to fall out.
She added: “Once Tom Tom eventually came home, it was like bringing home a new born. He couldn't walk, hardly talked he was so traumatised. He was bald and skeletal thin. He had lost so much weight and he had a feeding tube so it was quite overwhelming for the family.”
Paula continued: “In June 2017 we got a phone call from our oncologist saying that his team felt the only option Tom Tom had of making a full recovery was surgery to remove the lower part of his left lung and part of his diaphragm and a section of his right lung.
“On 6 July at 8.30am, I handed my beautiful precious boy over to the team of surgeons and Thomas and I waited for 11 hours to see him again in ICU.” 
He had made it through the surgery and the surgeon was very happy with the outcome. He spent six days in ICU and a further week in one of the wards. During this time he continued to receive chemo and his last chemo session was 23 August 2017.
Paula said: “Thomas and I took it in turns to be with him in Dublin, so we could be at home with the boys for school, as our middle boy Charlie started junior infants in school too and we wanted to keep things fairly normal for them.”
She concluded: “Since then Tom Tom has, thank God, been doing great. He continues to bring a smile to peoples’ faces. He is the chattiest, funniest little boy who really has an  old head on young shoulders. 
“I look at Tom Tom sometimes, particularly when I see his little scarred body and it just amazes me what he has gone through in his three and half years and he still wakes up every morning with a song and a smile.”

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