Co Tyrone community comes together to support schoolgirl (11) awaiting kidney transplant
A CO Tyrone community has come together to show its love and support for a brave 11-year-old girl as she awaits a kidney transplant.
Tatiana Silva, from Pomeroy, is battling chronic kidney disease and had both her kidneys removed earlier this year.
She travels three times a week to Belfast for dialysis while her family, who are originally from Portugal, await the green light from medics for a transplant after her father Manuel was found to be a match.
Standing alongside them throughout their ordeal is St Mary's Primary School and the wider community of Pomeroy who have rallied to offer whatever help they can.
School friends and staff, as well as members of Pomeroy Plunketts GAC and people across the parish, came together recently for a series of fundraising events.
A special 'tea party' was held in the school alongside a 'Clash of the Clans' football tournament, while local businesses have also shown their generosity.
Tatiana's mother Mariana yesterday attended a special presentation at St Mary's where a cheque for almost £10,000 was handed over.
Vice-principal Tina Hinfey said despite her illness, Tatiana is "always smiling".
"The aim was to to bring the community together to support Tatiana and her family," she said.
"She took ill when she was in P5 - she was in hospital for a while and the doctors thought it was a tumour, before she was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease.
"The doctors said she was a high risk of stroke.
"At the start of her P7 year Tatiana underwent huge surgery and had both her kidneys removed as her condition was getting worse and with a view of going for a transplant.
"She is in school, minus her two kidneys, yet she is always smiling and always happy."
Ms Hinfey said there had been a "huge community effort" to help the young girl, who this week was the recipient of the school's Spirit of Bravery award.
"We went round the local businesses and the place where Tatiana's parents work and they gave generously," she said.
"It has been a huge community effort, just going out there to help and support this family.
"The family are very humbled by the support they have received.
"I have been a teacher for 30 years and I've never seen anyone as humbled and grateful for the help that they have been given."