02 Jul 2022

Helping kids get BACK on track - Kilkenny can play its part

5KbyNOONinJUNE: for Scoliosis Awareness Month


Patrick Kiely, Founding Surgeon of Straight Ahead Ireland

June is Scoliosis Awareness Month and two brave children with their families’ are taking on 5KbyNOONinJUNE to help raise funds for another child on the HSE waiting list. The funds will go towards an operation to help a child become pain free this summer.

Aryn Kelly, founder of 5kbynooninjune

Aryn Kelly (15) from Dublin and Hannah Donohoe (11) from Kilkenny both have scoliosis, thankfully after a hard battle their conditions are improving. Now they want to give back and are pledging to help those who are waiting for vital surgery through the charity ‘Straight Ahead Ireland’.


Hannah Donohoe with pony Bonnie

Straight Ahead Ireland is a medical support group affiliated to the CMRF, which provides surgery, support and medical equipment for children with orthopaedic conditions. They were set up in 2011 by a team of voluntary Orthopaedic Surgeons and Nurses. It is a much needed charity group that performs surgeries for free on children that have orthopaedic deformities and have been on the public waiting lists for a long time. These children are often in severe pain and their condition is deteriorating further while waiting for their surgery.

Straight Ahead Ireland select the children with the greatest need and offer them their surgery for free in a private hospital. They cover the costs to use the private hospital facilities and purchase components for each surgery, it is vital that they receive funds to help a child, no child should have to wait.


According to Pat Kiely, Orthopaedic Spinal Surgeon and co-founder of the charity, “Waiting is not an option. Children with major orthopaedic problems are often forced to wait for much needed surgery which would significantly and rapidly change their lives for the better.  Straight Ahead aims to help these ‘time-critical’ cases who are deteriorating while on HSE waiting lists. To date we have taken 145 children off HSE waiting lists.” 


Young Aryn Kelly told the Kilkenny People about his scoliosis discovery when his mother became his barber during the pandemic. He recalls “last March my mum was giving me a lockdown haircut when she saw a rib raised on my back. A few weeks later I was diagnosed with progressive scoliosis with a curve of over 58 degrees. I needed surgery.”


Hannah’s story is similar, and thankfully her ballet teacher picked it up when Hannah was wearing a leotard for a ballet exam. Her teacher noticed a rib was sticking out more on one side than the other and advised her parents to get it checked out.


Both Hannah and Aryn are lucky as they are working with an amazing medical team – Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon Pat Kiely and Niamh McGowan who is a Spinal Specialist Physiotherapy at the Scoliosis Academy in the Beacon.


Thankfully they both have had positive results working with this team. Ayrn is currently going through rehab after two spine surgeries and Hannah wears a body brace for 20 hours a day, with a physio programme to try to avoid the surgery.


Aryn says “My main sport was rugby, so I was angry at the beginning, overnight my life had changed. When I was diagnosed, I increased my training and conditioning and improved my core strength. Everything I was doing, from at-home workouts, to physio plans, was to increase spine flexibility which was to give me my best outcome post-surgery.”


These two young spokespeople know they are among the fortunate ones and want to help another child on the HSE waiting list for vital surgery, so they have pledged to fundraise for ‘Straight Ahead’ Charity by doing ‘5k by noon in June’.


As you can see from their photographs both children are active and love sport. Their families have also promised to come on board to help out and I suppose that’s where I come in!

Hannah is my daughter and we have spent the past year attending hospital appointments to treat her scoliosis. It came to crunch time when her curve reached 28 degrees and her consultant asked if she would wear a brace to try to avoid surgery.


This was a massive task for a 10 year old but she took it head on and accepts this is life until she is in her mid to late teens. Like Aryn she is throwing everything she has at it and the hard work is starting to pay off. Last month we were told her curve had decreased to 16 degrees.


We see how hard she works with her medical team and the results are outstanding, so we want to help more kids with scoliosis achieve this. My whole family are getting involved to complete the 5k every day and we would appreciate your support for the Straight Ahead Ireland.


Siobhan Donohoe completing her first 5kbynooninjune

for Straight Ahead Ireland


 Since Ayrn’s diagnoses and hearing about the public waiting list situation for other children, he wanted to do something to help. This inspiring young man started a new initiative ‘5KbyNoonInJune’ in June 2020 and raised over €10,000 to assist a child to receive their much needed spinal correction surgery last summer.


Needless to say Ayrn is running the campaign again this June and is attempting it himself even though he is going through post-surgery rehab.


Get involved

Starting on Tuesday the June 1st, you can Run/Walk/Cycle a 5k every day.  Please share your updates by tagging them on Instagram/Facebook/Twitter @5KbyNoonInJune or send your photos as Aryn will be posting a daily update throughout the month. Please share their donation link 

To continue reading this article for FREE,
please kindly register and/or log in.

Registration is absolutely 100% FREE and will help us personalise your experience on our sites. You can also sign up to our carefully curated newsletter(s) to keep up to date with your latest local news!

Register / Login

Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.

Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.