FOOTBALL fans are being asked to join in with a round of applause at a fixture this weekend to honour the memory of a tragic toddler who passed away following a battle with illness.
Brave Mirryn Cunningham was diagnosed with CLN1 Batten disease - also known as childhood dementia - in January, but sadly lost her fight with the condition last month.
In a heartbreaking social media post, mum Vicky told how her “miracle” daughter took her “last breath in my arms,” adding: ““No one will forget your name, I looked at the sky many times and asked for a miracle and then was sent one in the form of you, mummy’s Miracle Mirryn, you touched the world.”
The family, from Uphall, West Lothian, have now issued an emotional plea for supporters of Hibernian and St Mirren to take part in an applause at the 23rd-minute mark of Saturday’s Premiership curtain raiser at Easter Road, with Vicky and Mirryn’s brother Alexander set to be in attendance.
Family friend Thomas Osbourne said: “Whilst Mirryn didn’t attend many Hibs matches due to her health, she loved to watch or listen to Hibs games most weeks with Vicky and Alexander. We want to try and get everyone behind a 23rd minute applause for her heartbroken mother and eight year old brother.”
Mirryn was born at 31 weeks, weighing just over three pounds, but further tests proved the extent of her illness and she lost all motor skills, becoming unable to eat, walk, see properly or stand.
In April, mum Vicky thanked members of the public who made donations to help her buy a unique chair that would help Mirryn enjoy a better quality of life.
She set up a fundraising page for her daughter with the hope of raising £2500 but the story struck a chord across the world, reaching a total of over £5000.
The two year old also pioneered the use of a drug, Keppra, which is now set to be used in end of life care for thousands of young children.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Batten disease is a rare disorder of the nervous system which typically starts in childhood.
Common symptoms include vision loss, seizures, delay and eventual loss of skills previously acquired, dementia, and abnormal movements.
There is no cure for the disorder but a treatment for one of the forms - CLN2 - has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Thomas added: “Mirryn pioneered medication for children with a terminal illness and now because of her, many who faced the prospect of a lot of pain will have the small comfort of being able to fight their battles pain free. Hopefully we can make this applause happen for the miracle that was Mirryn Cunningham.”