Our wonderful, bright, intelligent, sweet-hearted daughter, Aishlinn Quaid was born on the 18 August 2007 and she was a diagnosed with a Brain Tumour when she was 10 weeks old but that did not stop her becoming a rugby fanatic. Every Friday evening and most weekends, Aishlinn would watch the rugby with her dad Eamonn. She always wore her Munster jersey when her favourite team were playing. While she was in Temple Street hospital, she even got to hold the Heineken Cup. Her love for rugby and watching the matches with her dad allowed her to forget the pain from her tumour for 80 minutes. Aishlinn was a small bit behind meeting some of her milestones due to her tumour but that didn’t stop Aishlinn using as her first words outside of mum and dad, crouch, touch, pause, engage, as she heard it so often watching the matches on the television.
Through Aishlinn, Eamonn and I have met some of the most sincere and warm hearted people. Christmas time in 2010, even though we were informed by her wonderful doctors that the tumour had got bigger and that it would gravely affect her condition, while visiting and talking to Santa Claus, Munster rugby got a mention and through this conversation, her Christmas present that year was a trip to Thomond Park to meet some of her idols. At times, while watching the game on the television, every player on the team was a Ronan, other times the players were all Pauls and other times they were my favourite Donnacha. Our day came on 1 April 2011 when she walked with the aid of her dad into Thomond Park. She watched the team do their training and preparing for the game at the weekend. She spoke to some of the players and she even gave Ronan, Paul and Donnacha a hug. She was the proud owner of two rugby jerseys one signed by the team and the other by the captain Paul O’Connell.
Roll on to 2013, Aishlinn helped Tony and Mary Heffernan launched the BUMBLEance and she was so excited being the first ever Queen Bee. The BUMBLEance is such an amazing service for children and their parents. Dreaded journeys to hospitals or to the Hospice can now be fun trips there with all the technology on-board to relax and watch their favourite cartoons or play their computer games. Angel trips are the hardest journeys of all but with the wonderful staff of the BUMBLEance; they give the family and the child a unique, serene and caring experience so that the final journey is the most important one. Eamonn and Aishlinn also did a video to promote the BUMBLEance, she would be tickled pink knowing that the service has gone strength to strength and that number 18 is about to be launched with the help of Munster Rugby. We are sad that Aishlinn is not with us to see this but we know in our hearts, that she blessed us and she also blessed the service and so that all children from all over the country with disabilities and those with life limiting conditions can avail of the service.
Eamonn and I are forever grateful for the ever-lasting memories we have of her watching and reacting to the Munster and other Irish rugby games and how such a small girl could have an impact on people.
-Marie Quaid, Proud Mum
The #MunsterMachine will help children just like Aishlinn get from their homes to appointments in safety and style. Please donate to the #MunsterMachine here.