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A special thank you from children who have undergone heart surgery to the staff of Crumlin.

"Photographs open doors into the past, but they also allow a look into the future"

~ Sally Mann

Parents of children who have undergone heart surgery are to give a very special thank you to the staff and volunteers of the Children’s Heart Centre in Our Ladies Hospital Crumlin.

Little Heart Warriors Ireland have created a thank you photo collage that will include images and personal thank you messages of children aged between two months to 12 years old with a congenital heart defect (CHD), who were cared for at the Children’s Heart Centre in Our Ladies Hospital Crumlin.

The collage will be revealed next Sunday, March 18th to the parents of the children for the first time as well as a presentation to the hospital in a special event at Palmerstown House Estate in Johnstown, Co. Kildare between 2pm and 5pm.

The idea was brought to life by celebrity make-up artist Rhona Cullinan from Dublin, and Irina Duane of Happy Memories Photography in Dungarvan, Co. Waterford. Rhona’s little daughter Molly Johnson (1.5 yrs) has already undergone two open heart surgeries, while Irina’s little boy Leo Duane (4 months) had his first open heart surgery at just 4 days old. Molly who was also born with down syndrome, was given a six month all clear in January, while Leo is making great progress.

Molly and Leo

Rhona decided to do something special for the staff in the hospital to say thank you. Rhona said: "I just felt a box of chocolates or a thank you card wasn’t enough to let them know how much we appreciate everything they did for us”. Together, Rhona and Irina created the Facebook page Little Heart Warriors Ireland, and undertook to create the thank you photo collage.

It's a big thank you to all the staff, from the doctors to the volunteers. It is also to give hope to parents whose children may be facing surgery. “You spend a lot of time at the heart unit and it can be quite hopeless at times. We hope that the photographs of these amazing and brave children will provide great encouragement and strength to parents of children diagnosed with CHD”.

Over a number of weeks, Irina took professional photographs of all the children in the project. In a series of shoots in her studio in Waterford and then in Dublin, Irina captured beautiful images of 72 Little Heart Warriors. Rhona was busy engaging with parents, liaising with the printers and framers, and organising all of the activities for the Little Heart Warriors family day. JD Hackitts was kind enough to donate their time and expertise to print and frame the beautiful collage.

Behind the scenes

The photo collage will be revealed to the parents and hospital at this event on Sunday for the first time. "We'll also be showing it on Facebook Live for parents who cannot attend because their child is still in hospital”, says Irina.

The event will have some guest speakers from the hospital, parents sharing their story, some of the little warriors showing off their talents and there will be fundraising at the event for Heart Children Ireland. X Factor star Mary Byrne who is one of Molly’s fans will also be entertaining the guests during the event.

For more information, contact Rhona Cullinan.

Ph 0872511205


Further details about the Little Heart Warriors project can be found at


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