Posted: Friday, June 28th, 2024

Kilkenny child who never complained once despite life-threatening illness was ‘one in a billion’

Funeral to take place on Thursday of popular boy (9) two days after he was supposed to go on dream family trip to Spain

The heartbroken parents of a Co Kilkenny boy who died suddenly following a life-long, bravely fought illness, have paid tribute to their ‘one in a billion’ boy.
Will Ring died aged nine-and-a-half on Saturday at Temple Street Hospital, from complications arising from his illness, spina bifida hydrocephalus.

Late of Kilcross, Inistioge, Will is the beloved son of Rob and Dee.

He was born on December 29, 2014, in Glasgow, where his parents were living. Both aware of his condition prior to birth, for Dee and Rob it would be some time after Will was born before they were given a clear picture from doctors about how Will’s condition would affect him.

They decided to move to Inistioge to be close to family and returned in 2016.

“They call it the Snowflake illness because it’s different how it affects everyone,” said Dee. “It leads to varying degrees of disability depending on where in the spine is affected.”

Unsure as to whether their son would be able to walk and meet his developmental markers, Dee and Rob faced an anxious time. “Will had a build up of fluid on the brain and that can cause developmental cognitive issues. Until he was assessed we really didn’t know what his potential was.”

Describing their son was ‘the happiest lad you would ever meet in your life’, they said Will was a boy who loved being out in nature.

A Third Class pupil at St Colmcille’s NS, attending there since he was four, Will was an enthusiastic student and very popular with his classmates.

He played rugby tots at St Mary’s school in New Ross up until the pandemic and was a member of the Rower/Inistioge hurling club and Thomastown United AFC. Will also loved attending the 4th Kilkenny Inistioge Scouts Group,

He was a keen student of nature. “He never or wanted a phone or tablet; he just wasn’t into that. He was outside from morning till night. On walks he would always point out animals and birds to us and say things like ‘the swallows are back’ or ‘the tide is in’. He was an old soul.”

Despite having to go to hospital appointments to get his bloods done and for operations numerous times, Will ‘never complained once’, Rob said.

“He was so brave. Of course he was a bit apprehensive getting the needles for his bloods, but he never cried. The visits were continual just to check on his condition.”

Will was extremely excited to go to Spain on Tuesday, June 25, just after finishing school, but sadly his health deteriorated over recent weeks.

“He loved being anywhere there was water, so was so looking forward to going into the pool in Spain.”

Will had issues with the shunt in his brain in mid-June. Concerned, Dee and Rob had him assessed at St Luke’s Hospital in Kilkenny, from where he was transferred to Temple Street, where he was operated on.

Will returned home the following day. “Everything was brilliant and he was in such good form. We were thinking about sending him into class for the final two days. He was great on Saturday, Sunday and Monday and even on Tuesday he was in right form,” said Rob.

That night he got a pain in his head, which got progressively worse.

Will was rushed to St Luke’s for a CT scan and then on to Temple Street, where he passed away on Saturday.

“He had a garda escort from Naas and a medical team was waiting for him at the hospital doors to take him to theatre. They did a drainage operation, but it was too late.”

Rob said there has been a huge outpouring of support for the family ever since news broke of Will’s tragic and unexpected passing.

“Will was one in a billion. He was so brave, courageous, kind and generous. He’d give you his last sweet. He was very witty and loved word play.

“I’m a blow in and only for Will I wouldn’t have met so many people. He was quiet, but charismatic and people would just gravitate towards him,” Dee and Rob said.

Will will be sadly missed by his parents, loving grandparents Christy and Ann Ring and Kay Maher, uncles Simon, William and his husband Andy, Sean, Kevin and his wife Charlotte and John, his aunties Ann and Niamh and her husband Ken, his cousins Joey, Grace, David, Oisin and Sean Og, the extended Ring and Maher families, the pupils of St Colmcille’s National School, Inistioge, his teammates from the Rower Inistioge GAA Club and Thomastown United AFC, the 4th Kilkenny Inistioge Scouts Group, and friends from the community.

He was predeceased by his grandfather Willie Maher.

May his gentle soul Rest in Peace.

David Looby

© New Ross Standard

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