Northern Ireland

Primary School in Strabane shares tragic news of 11-year-old pupil's death from rare blood condition

Holly Gormley (11) from Strabane had been diagnosed with a rare blood condition.
Holly Gormley (11) from Strabane had been diagnosed with a rare blood condition. Holly Gormley (11) from Strabane had been diagnosed with a rare blood condition.

A primary school in Strabane has shared the devastating news that an 11-year-old pupil has died from a rare blood condition.

St Catherine’s Primary School student Holly Gormley became unwell in January, when her parents Claire and Gareth noticed she was bruising easily and struggling with fatigue.

They initially thought it was because of her active lifestyle, as a member of Lifford Athletics Club and Class Act Theatre Group.

After being rushed to Altnagelvin Hospital, she was transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast where it was confirmed she had Aplastic Anaemia – a rare condition that means the bone marrow does not produce enough blood cells.

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Spending months in hospital and requiring constant blood transfusions, the family were told she would need a stem cell transplant.

Her parents and brother JD were unfortunately not a match, but had never given up in the search to find a donor.

A tribute on the school’s page, where her mother is also a teacher, read: “We remember our precious Year 7 Pupil, Holly.

“May her gentle soul rest in peace. We ask everyone to keep Holly, her mummy (Mrs Gormley), her daddy, her brother, her family and the whole school family in your thoughts and prayers during this incredibly sad and difficult time.  Our precious angel.”

Earlier this year, multiple fundraising efforts were held in Tyrone and Donegal for the stem cell charity, The Anthony Nolan Trust.

In April, it was reported that Holly’s aunt Geraldine had managed to raise over £11,000 for the charity.

Other events had included ‘An Evening for Holly’ at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Strabane, where local theatre groups and choirs raised money for the haematology and oncology units at Belfast Children’s Hospital.

Holly Gormley.
Holly Gormley. Holly Gormley.

Showing their support for the family, hundreds left messages of support on the school’s Facebook page.

SDLP MLA Daniel McCrossan commented: “Devastating news and a painful loss of a young, beautiful life. Thinking on her mum, dad and family.”

Sinn Féin councillor Fergal Leonard also posted: “Rest in Peace Holly and may God give her parents and family some strength during this difficult time.”