Billy fought right to the end

24 November 2004
By Donal Hickey

“I REFUSE to die without a chance to live.”

The inspiring mantra of the late Billy Burke, 29, who had desperately sought a lifesaving, double lung transplant, was on many lips in his native Killorglin, Co Kerry, yesterday.

Townspeople, who had so supported his campaign, wept softly when the sad news of the cystic fibrosis patient’s death came through at mid-morning.

Word spread quickly around the streets as people stopped to talk about his passing, while others blessed themselves and said quiet prayers.

His sister, Lisa, said the family were terribly upset, but added: “we’re so proud of him. He fought right to the end. It’s such a pity he didn’t get a chance to live.”

In a brief statement, the family thanked everyone involved in Billy’s care and those who offered words of support for his plight. They asked the media to respect their wish for privacy in a very difficult period.

Killorglin businessman Edso Crowley said the whole area and many people around the country were moved by Billy’s brave battle.

“What Billy was saying about getting a chance to live now holds true more than ever, as he didn’t get that chance,” Mr Crowley, who was one of the speakers at a public rally in the town, last April, remarked.

“The reason for the campaign was to try to change existing policies. The politicians would not touch it because they said it was a clinical matter and something for doctors to decide on.

“We’re told that a transplant unit is to be opened in Dublin soon, but it will be too late for Billy,” he added.

Killorglin restaurateur Anne Foley, a close friend of the Burke family, described Billy as a real hero, who had put up a great battle and had fought to the bitter end.

“You won’t find his likes again. We love him. He’s at peace at last,” she said.

The Cystic Fibrosis Association offered sympathy to the family and asked the media to respect their wish for privacy.

Billy’s body will repose at his home between 1pm and 8pm today and burial will be Killorglin, following a funeral Mass in St James’s Church tomorrow.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?