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Our inspirational Daniel

Barbara Boyd

Reporter:

Barbara Boyd

THE family of an “inspirational” Ballyvea boy has paid tribute to his young life.

There was a deep sense of sadness across the Mourne community last Monday (13 August) as news of Daniel Forsythe’s death filtered through.

Daniel, of Ballyveabeg Road, Ballymartin was the dearly-loved son of Louise and Garry and much-loved brother of Ruby.

He was laid to rest on Thursday, 16 August in Mourne Presbyterian Church where mourners gathered to remember his life.

Daniel (5) had experienced more than most would in a lifetime after being diagnosed in May 2017 with the rare childhood cancer, Wilms Tumour.

After being diagnosed, Daniel underwent lots of intense chemotherapy and two separate major surgeries in Leeds General Infirmary.

The little boy also faced radiotherapy, countless procedures, general anaesthetics, blood transfusions, scans, tests, hospital visits and stays.

However, always with great courage and bravery he never questioned a thing and most of these trials he thought of as an “exciting adventure”.

Paying tribute to their son, Daniel’s family said: “Throughout this period of treatment, Daniel inspired many with his boundless energy, twinkling eyes, broad smile and his trademark ‘thumbs up’. Daniel simply was a typical five-year-old boy.”
Daniel was born in September 2012 and as a baby he was full of smiles, so pleasant and happy.

Daniel gives his 'trademark' thumbs up. 


His family said as he grew up it became clear that he was an outdoors child.
“He loved nothing more than being outside. Whether at home on the farm in Ballyvea or in the town he would want to go down to the shore.
“Many hours of delight were spent in the outdoors. He loved riding his bike, even until a few weeks ago Daniel was outside on his bike each and every day.  Daniel loved the company of other children, especially his sister Ruby and all his cousins, who he spent so much time with.”
Daniel was a pupil at Kilkeel Nursery School until his diagnosis in May last year.
His family said there he spent many happy days learning, playing and making friends.
These were friends who he often talked of and remembered so well, even though he was not able to attend school for his P1 year.
He was a bright and inquisitive child with a tremendous understanding and interest in things.
Grace Trimble, Principal of Kilkeel Nursery School, said Daniel had “a zest for life”.

Daniel was a much loved pupil of Kilkeel Nursery School. 


Mrs Trimble added: “Daniel had a really engaging personality and just loved life. He captured the hearts of all the school staff and the whole school community.
“He was just a child who was always smiling and you could see in his eyes he had such a twinkle and he loved being with the other children too.
“Daniel just took part in everything and enjoyed learning so much. The school community extends our sympathy to Daniel’s extended family circle.”
Daniel also attended Mourne Robins and was a member of Twist and Splits Gymnastics Academy, both of which gave him great enjoyment and happiness.
His family said he had a real talent for sport and recently joined his P1 class for sports day in the middle of June this year, coming home with a gold and a silver medal.
This was a major achievement for Daniel after all the treatment and surgeries, and not having attended school for the year.
“He truly did so well and was so pleased with being able to join his friends and with his success,” his family added.

Daniel also enjoyed playing football, having attended Valley Rangers youth training.
Many said Daniel’s talent for football would have taken him far and he aspired to grow up to be a footballer, as well as a fireman, vet, farmer and a builder.
Valley Rangers also paid moving tributes to Daniel at the weekend, with a minute’s applause at their home and away matches, a touching balloon release, and dedicating a trophy to Daniel, the Daniel Forsythe Cup.
The Mourne football club also paid tribute to Daniel on their Facebook page.
A statement read: “Daniel was such a brave and courageous wee man and he fought to the end. He never complained after all he’s been through.
“As a club we are proud to say Daniel was one of us and our thoughts and prayers are with Daniel’s parents, Garry and Louise and sister Ruby.
We are thinking about the wider family circle who are coming to terms with this sad news. Once a Valley Ranger, always a Valley Ranger.”
Since Daniel’s passing, a marathon has also been run in his memory as part of the CCU32.
This is a huge fundraiser which sees three extraordinary men run 32 marathons in 32 counties of Ireland in 32 days, in aid of Children’s Cancer Unit Charity (CCUC).
This is the same unit where Daniel received all his treatment and care during his cancer battle.
Daniel’s family added: “Notably Daniel’s own consultant, Dr Robert Johnston, completed this marathon in County Down on Saturday (18 August) starting in Castlewellan Forest Park, finishing in Newcastle.
“We have been humbled by this mark of respect for our dear son. Daniel had a great relationship with Dr Johnston.”
He received first-class care from him and the team of doctors, nurses and so many others who have played a vital role in Daniel’s care within the Children’s Cancer Unit at Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children.
“In recent weeks he also received amazing love and care from the local GPs in Mourne Family Surgery, Kilkeel and the Children’s Community Nursing Team based in Newry.”
Throughout Daniel’s illness, his family have felt great support from the community around them and further afield. Support in so many ways, including practical, thoughtful, caring and most especially prayerful support.
Their church family locally and around the world have been persistently sustaining Daniel and his family.
His family added: “Several charities also supported Daniel including Children’s Cancer Unit Charity, Cancer Fund for Children and Daisy Lodge, CLIC Sargent to name but a few.”
“Angel Wishes most recently provided wonderful experiences and treats for Daniel and our family, which he may not have been able to experience otherwise.”
Angel Wishes also paid tribute to Daniel on their Facebook account.
A statement from the charity read: “Angel Wishes is totally devastated to learn of the passing of our darling wee Daniel.
“Daniel was a true inspiration to us all, his determination and love for life shone through in everything he did, he was an incredible wee boy.
“Can I ask you all to keep Louise, Garry, Ruby and the entire family in your prayers. Fly high beautiful angel and watch over your wonderful family from above.”
The community support from several fundraisers for the family and each of these charities on Daniel’s behalf has been outstanding. Very recently Daniel enjoyed a special trip to Legoland.
Daniel’s family are truly grateful to everyone around them who has been able to support them in many and varied ways.
After Daniel’s funeral, his family had a slide show of photographs on display in the church hall at the tea.
It was clear from this display that family played a tremendous role in Daniel’s life and his happiness.
Many happy family days were spent in his own home, visiting other family homes, outside, days out and holiday times with extended family members.
Good fun, happiness and joy were most apparent from these pictures, which showed Daniel as a baby right up until the days before his passing.
And indeed most apparent in the memory of those dearest to Daniel, these happy times will be treasured, especially by his parents, Garry and Louise and his sister Ruby.
The Rev William Bingham described Daniel most appropriately during his funeral service.
He used Daniel’s name to describe him: “D for determination in everything he did, A for athletic, good at everything he tried, N for his love of nature, I for inspirational in his attitude to his period of sickness, E for enjoyed every moment of life, L for loving to everyone around him, most especially his family.”
Rev Bingham described the funeral as a service of thanksgiving for Daniel’s life and a reminder of our hope of Heaven.
Daniel’s parents also left a message of faith and hope on the order of service.
‘Faith that God always has a plan. Faith that God knew everything about Daniel. Faith that Daniel is not ‘lost’ but he is with Christ in Heaven. And a hope that one day they will be reunited with their dear son in Heaven.’

Another thumbs up from happy Daniel pictured playing outside with his sister Ruby.

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