Ben was Dawn's third child. He received his name from the mountain that surrounds Glencar Waterfall, Benbulben. Days before Ben was due to be born by home delivery, Dawn from a family of intuitive's and healers dreamt he came to say goodbye.
Ben was born on the 06th of October 2003 in Castlebar Hospital. He stayed for four hours and made his way home to the Angels late that evening. There had been no prior medical warning and the loss devastated Dawn's life.
It was later revealed that Ben had a rare heart condition called Hypo-plastic Left Heart Syndrome. Dawn played three songs at his funeral, Ben by Michael Jackson, Angel by Sarah McLaughlin and of course Wonderchild by Mary Black. At the time Dawn made a soul commitment to record Wonderchild. It took a further 16 years to manifest.
Ben's condition Hypo Plastic Left Heart Syndrome affects 1 in every 5000 children and without detection in the womb or directly after birth it is fatal. It is responsible for up to 40% of neonatal deaths. Hypo Plastic Left Heart Syndrome occurs when the left side of the heart is underdeveloped. It requires an echocardiogram scan to detect the flow of blood to both chambers in the heart. An echocardiogram scan can only be referred to by a specialist and it is not at this time mandatory for all pregnancies in Ireland.
Wonderchild is for all children but it holds a special reverence for children who are ill and their families who face so much just to get through each day.
You can support children with Heart Challenges by buying Ben's song, Wonderchild.
Heart Children Ireland
Heart Children Ireland was founded in 1990 by a group of parents who met in Our Lady’s Hospital in Crumlin. At that time, their children were being treated for congenital heart defects. They realized there was a need for a support group and with the help of staff including Dr Desmond Duff and Sr. Chris McMahon they set about organizing one.
In the early stages, Heart Children Ireland received help from Heartbeat, now Heartbeat Trust in Northern Ireland. Six people attended the first Heart Children Ireland meeting in January 1990.
From these small beginnings, the group grew and was very successful. This was due to the hard work of the initial members. They set up two branches, one in Dublin and one in Cork. By 1992 membership had increased to 140 member families. Heart Children Ireland now has over 1,000 member families and has raised well in excess of €2.5m for the Children’s Heart Centre at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin.
They also provide service to the Young Adult Congenital Unit at the Mater Hospital. Their young adults transfer from the children’s hospital to the Mater Hospital when they are in their late teens. Although Heart Children is primarily a support group they have become involved in both fundraising and lobbying, they see these as an integral part of the support they provide.
Over the years they have had meetings with successive Ministers for Health and officials from the HSE, they have used these meetings to secure improved treatment and facilities for those with CHD and to highlight deficiencies in the existing services.