Jack's Story

Published: 25 Mar 2024

Our brave, resilient boy, woke up every morning with a smile on his face.

Jack and his Family

Our little boy Jack needs 24/7 care.     

He’s on oxygen full-time. He is fed via pump every four hours. He has to be changed five times a night. But as my husband Joe says, Jack looks at you as if to say; “just give me a hand and I’ll do the rest.” 

Because that’s all families like ours need., A helping hand that will simply allow us to be a family. And that’s what LauraLynn gave us, thanks to people like you. 

As you read this, another family like ours is in desperate need of support. Will you send a gift to support them so they can get the helping hand they need? 

Jack was so wanted. 

After seven long years of trying, and two devastating miscarriages, I was so excited for our ‘big scan’ at 21 weeks. Then we heard the words, “I have to get a second opinion”. Your heart drops when you hear that. You just know straight away.  

Our unborn baby had fluid and enlarged ventricles in his brain, two holes in his heart and kidney issues. 

In a matter of minutes, we’d gone from elation to utter heartbreak, as we tried to process the news that our unborn baby might not survive.  

It’s unbearable thinking your baby could die at any time. 

At 26 weeks, I was admitted to hospital and few weeks later I was rushed in for an emergency C-section. As Jack entered the world, I prayed, “please, tell me he’s alive”.   

Then I heard his little cry. 

He was so tiny, he would’ve fit in the palm of my hand. But I only saw him  

for a split second. He was intubated and rushed to the neonatal unit. 

I never got to hold my newborn baby to my chest, a moment I’d spent years longing for. 

Thanks to people like you LauraLynn can be there for families like mine. Will you please give another family like ours the helping hand they need? 

The days after Jack’s birth were so tough. Seeing him in his incubator. I’d slip my finger through the little porthole, just to stroke his finger.  

I know you’ll understand how heartbreaking that was.  

In the months that followed, Jack had multiple surgeries. But our brave, resilient boy woke up every morning with a smile on his face and finally, after 13 long months, we were able to take him home to Kerry. 

Michelle and Jack at the sign to County Kerry

We’d waited so long for that day, but the thought of caring for Jack by ourselves, without the support of the hospital, was frightening. 

That was when the team from LauraLynn came into our lives. They came to our house, to learn about Jack’s routine and his needs, and to get to know us as a family. Having them there was such a weight off our shoulders. 

We’d simply be lost without the LauraLynn nurses and therapists. To me they are our angels.  

With LauraLynn, we get the helping hand we need to just be a family.

And Jack is mad about the Community Team! As soon as they arrive, he’s blowing kisses at his nurse, Lorraine. They just make everything so fun for him. They’ll arrive at the house with a big box of toys. They’ll have a tent, with lights, and they’ll pop him into it.

They even turn his physio exercises into a game. They put the sensory lights all around him. Then they put some music on and start dancing away – Jack’s having so much fun, he doesn’t even realise he’s doing physio. 

Having that support in our own home? It’s like winning the lottery. 

And when we go to LauraLynn in Dublin, I can take some time to myself and know he’s being so well looked after. I can go into town for the day or go shopping in Dundrum. Then I come back and there he is, covered in paint, doing arts and crafts. Or in the ball pit, having so much fun. LauraLynn is a pure home from home for Jack. He just loves it.

Jack and his handprints

Jack’s birth had been so traumatic that we never got to do the hand moulds but when we were at LauraLynn at Christmas, they did his fingerprints as little ornaments in the shape of robins. 

I can’t tell you how much it means to have those little keepsakes. It makes us feel like a normal family.

There are many more children like Jack, and more families like ours, who need the love and caring support provided by LauraLynn across Ireland.  

You can offer another family this helping hand today. 

Thank you for supporting LauraLynn.  

And thank you for loving children like Jack. 


Michelle Duggan - Jack’s Mam

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 P.S. Please be the helping hand a family like ours needs by sending a gift now. Thank you.