A SCHOOL defibrillator is to be dedicated in memory of a Fermanagh man who fell to his death from a Donegal bridge earlier this year.
Engineer Ian Smith (65), from Ederney, lost his life after falling from the Station Bridge into the River Clady in January.
Following the tragedy the company Mr Smith worked for Killadeas-based engineering firm Deane Public Works Ltd, was approached by Donegal Councillor Micheal Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig.
He asked if they would be willing to make a donation towards a defibrillator for Scoil Oliver Plunkett, Ranafast, which will be required when little Kayleigh Ward starts attending in September.
Kayleigh was born with a serious heart condition and was not expected to live beyond the first few months of her life.
Deane Public Works Ltd agreed to pay entirely for the defibrillator and it will now be placed at the school, alongside a plaque in memory of the late Mr Smith.
Five-year-old Kayleigh’s mum, Bella Ward, says the gesture will allow her daughter to participate in all school activities as she sets out on her educational journey.
The baby’s condition was quickly confirmed however she was so poorly that she was not expected to survive. With her health deteriorating medics decided to transfer her to Children’s Hospital in Dublin.
The emergency team there managed to get her stabilised and she remained on the St Theresa’s Baby Cardiac Ward for eight weeks. But on the day Kayleigh was due to leave the ward, she suffered a full cardiac arrest.
She was rushed on to an ECMO machine, a device similar to that used when carrying out a heart or lung bypass.
At one stage Kayleigh’s parents were told their little girl was the “sickest child in Ireland”.
Despite the grim diagnosis though, the little girl continued to defy the odds though and battled through the weeks, the months and eventually the years.
The defibrillator will allow Kayleigh to do everything her classmates do, including sports and days away.
The fact that the late Ian Smith’s name will be placed alongside the life saving device was a “lovely gesture” and said she was very grateful to Cllr Mac Giolla Easbuig for his help.
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