Northern Ireland

Co Armagh mother and son both suffering from cancer dealt further blow as boy contracts meningitis and suffers stroke

Sonny Hanratty was diagnosed with leukaemia, just months after his mother Caitriona was told she had breast cancer

Caitriona Hanratty and her son Sonny are both battling cancer
Caitriona Hanratty and her son Sonny are both battling cancer

The family of a Co Armagh mother and her toddler son facing an “unimaginable battle with cancer” have been dealt a further blow after the little boy contracted meningitis and suffered a stroke.

Sonny Hanratty from Crossmaglen, who is 16 months, was diagnosed with leukaemia in February, just months after his mother Caitriona (34) was told she had breast cancer.

As Ms Hanratty and her husband James rallied to tackle the two cancer battles, and as Sonny was embarking on the start of his intensive chemotherapy treatment, they have been dealt even further heartache in recent days.

They were told Sonny had contacted meningitis and suffered a stroke.

Mr Hanratty’s sister Laura Byrne told The Irish News that it has been an “extremely difficult time” for the family as she appealed for prayers.

“Sonny was only diagnosed with leukaemia on 29th February, so these last few weeks have been a very dangerous and difficult time as he started his treatment,” she said.

“But then there is now these complications of meningitis and a stroke.

“It is an extremely difficult time and we would appreciate prayers for him.”

Angel Wishes, which supports children affected by cancer, has also appealed for support for Sonny and his family.

In a message posted online, the charity said: “No matter what denomination or creed you are Sonny needs you to pray from your heart.

“Sonny was diagnosed a few months ago with leukaemia, but has now contracted meningitis and had a stroke.

“As you can imagine this news has been heart-breaking for his family, but his incredible parents are holding on to every bit of positivity they can find.

“Sometimes we forget just how incredible our children are and how strong their little bodies are.

“We pray Sonny is going to show us all what a wee superhero he is and come back from this fighting harder than ever with his beautiful smile on his face.”

PRAYER REQUEST Angel Wishes asks you to please please add our darling wee Sonny onto your prayer list. No matter what...

Posted by Angel Wishes on Tuesday 9 April 2024

It comes as a fundraiser set up by Mr Hanratty’s sisters Laura and Donna has now reached almost £35,000.

The sisters said the family are facing a “heart-wrenching journey” as Caitriona and Sonny battle cancer, made more difficult by the recent complications.

They said initially the couple’s “lives were turned upside down” with Caitriona’s breast cancer diagnosis.

“Caitriona being Caitriona took every bit of bad news on the chin, with a smile on her face and inspirational positivity throughout each step of this heart-breaking journey,” the sisters said.

“There has been a lot of bumps in the road, but Caitriona is half way through her treatment and remaining positive.

A fundraiser has been launched to help the Hanratty family

“Up until now, Sonny’s infectious personality and big smile had been carrying James and Caitriona through every step of this journey, but unknown to us all, Sonny was also about to begin his own battle against this horrible disease.

“On 29th February this year, less than four month’s after Caitriona’s diagnosis, they got the devastating news that their precious, only child Sonny had leukaemia.

“This came as a complete shock to us all, Sonny was his happy, bubbly self that day but after an unexpected trip to A&E with a rash, a few hours later, James and Caitriona were sat down and told this unimaginable news.

“Words cannot express the pain and disbelief this has caused our entire family.”

The women said they launched the fundraiser as the family face “a very long road ahead”.

“They are spending every day at Sonny’s side whether that’s in hospital or caring for him at home,” they said.

“We, as a family, want to make this time as stress free as possible so that they can concentrate and focus on Caitriona’s road to recovery and both be by Sonny’s side throughout this heart wrenching journey.”