There are some stories we love to cover and last week’s front page is a perfect example.
The media is constantly accused of spreading bad news, stirring up outrage and making mountains out of molehills, but the story of Baby Megan Hope Byrne, whose family was told she had no chance at life, is one of those tales of adversity that proves that the world is not always cruel.
In an environment of economic woes, political failures, cutbacks and cut-throat business, the story of Baby Megan’s triumph over tragedy is really something.
We first found out about her family’s journey when her grandmother Patricia visited our office to put a prayer of thanks in our classified ads. Although she says she’s not “not holy”, Patricia and her family are convinced that Baby Megan’s story is miraculous, and it’s hard to disagree.
Born with a condition from which only 17 children worldwide suffer, and not even expected to make it out of the womb alive, Baby Megan has astonished medical professionals and her own family.
At the age of just 13 months, she has been through more pain and suffering than most of us will ever go through. She has had numerous operations and will live with scarring and disfigurement all her life.
But she is alive, and she is her family’s miracle.
Like her friends the Benhaffaf twins (whom she met in hospital and who attended her first birthday party), Megan has already come through a larger, more difficult struggle than the vast majority of people will ever contend with.
From the first day that her parents were told she would not live, she has consistently confounded the doctors, and struggled to fight what they were told was the inevitable. And she has won.
There’s a lot we can all learn from Baby Megan.
The times we are in encourage negativity and hopelessness, and it’s difficult not to get sucked into the mire. A relentless barrage of bad news is enough to get most people down, and compounded by financial problems and uncertainty about jobs, bills, and our futures, the gloom can be palpable at times.
But the story of Baby Megan shows that there is hope. Not for nothing is her middle name ‘Hope’.
Her very existence proves that life is a struggle, but it’s worth fighting for. It proves that we can, sometimes, prevent the inevitable. It proves that it’s always worth hoping, no matter what you are told.
Editorial first published in the Cork Independent Thursday 7 April.