Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Local family create ‘Harvey’s Haven’ in memory of young son

A Bessbrook woman who lost her little boy Harvey to a rare degenerative disease has seen her dream of keeping his memory alive come true, with the opening of a new sensory room dedicated to her special son.

Little Harvey McCabe passed away at just two-and-a-half years old, only four months after his family received the devastating news he was suffering from the life limiting condition, Metachromatic Leukodystrophy (MLD) – a rare, genetic, degenerative disorder that leads to muscle wasting and weakness, developmental delays, blindness, impaired swallowing and dementia. Most children diagnosed with the condition have a life expectancy of up to 5 years old however Harvey’s life was tragically cut short six months after his second birthday. 

With the love and support of their families and the local community, mum Clare and partner Cathal were determined to keep Harvey’s memory alive. As a way of remembering Harvey him and to help children who require a specialised environment to enjoy their hospital experience, they launched the ThumbsUpForHarvey fundraising campaign to build a new sensory room at Daisy Hill.

Sister Michelle McLogan, Daisy Children and Young People’s Unit with members of the McCabe family marking the launch of Harvey’s Haven, the new sensory room.

 Their tireless dedication raised £23,000 to create “Harvey’s Haven” , a lasting memorial to the toddler, located in Daisy Hill’s Children and Young People’s Department. The beautiful room, equipped with the latest in sound and light interactive technology, was officially opened last week, marking Harvey’s fourth anniversary this month.  Speaking at the opening, proud mum Clare said,

“We are beyond grateful to all the sponsors and people who have kindly dedicated their personal fundraising challenges to our ThumbsUpForHarvey campaign. 

“Special recognition must go to the local communities of Bessbrook, Camlough and surrounding areas who donated generously throughout all of our fundraising events and always offered a helping hand when needed. Through Harvey’s Haven, Harvey’s memory will always be kept alive.”

Paying tribute to Clare and family, Dr Ahmed Khan, Associate Medical Director for Children and Young People’s Services for the Southern Trust said, 

“We sincerely thank the McCabe family who have gone to so much effort to help other families following their own tragic loss. 

“Being in hospital is particularly difficult for children and young people and indeed stressful for the whole family. Harvey’s Haven is a place where families can now find some peace and tranquillity and which offers children some distraction during their time in hospital.”  

Clare McCabe and family members Frank McCabe, Nora Gregory, Cathal Quinn and baby Caidan have donated an amazing £23,000 to develop a new sensory room ‘Harvey’s’ Haven’ within the Daisy Children and Young People’s Unit at Daisy Hill Hospital. Pictured with Dr Ahmed Khan, Associate Medical Director for Children and Young People’s Services at the Southern Trust, Sr Michelle McLogan, Deputy Sister Orla Heaney, Staff Nurse Jamie Loughran and Health Care Assistant Michelle ONeill.