Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Ahern meets chin op teen Alan

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern meets Alan Doherty

Bertie Ahern made his final visit to the North West as Taoiseach to meet the inspirational Donegal teenager undergoing pioneering surgery for a new chin.

Bertie Ahern made his final visit to the North West as Taoiseach to meet the inspirational Donegal teenager undergoing pioneering surgery for a new chin.

Alan Doherty was said to be "ecstatic" after doctors in New York gave him the green light to fly home to meet the outgoing Fianna Fail leader.

Mr Ahern as special guest at a gala charity dinner and ball last night to raise money for the Friends Of Alan Doherty charity.

The event at the Mount Errigal Hotel in Letterkenny featured a host of dignitaries and over 500 family and friends of Alan.

During the evening Mr Ahern presented Alan and the head of his charity Paul McBride with their joint Donegal People of the Year Awards, recently awarded by Donegal County Council.

Nineteen-year-old Celtic fanatic Alan has been at the Mt Sinai Hospital in Manhattan for several weeks following the latest in a series of gruelling operations to fulfil his life-long dream of having "the perfect chin" .

Alan is one of a handful of people across the world known to have been born with a rare maxillofacial condition which means he has no lower jaw.

Surgeons, however have devised a series of painstaking surgical procedures to remove bone from Alan's body to create a chin bone- the first surgery of its kind ever conducted anywhere in the world.

Mr McBride said: "This will be Bertie Ahern's last visit as Taioseach to the North West. He is doing this for Alan and he is doing it because he wants to do it.

"This ball has kept Alan focused throughout all his troubles. He has massive courage and strength, because he has had to endure that hurt of people staring and saying things to him all his life. And what bigger honour can you get than the Taioseach coming down?"

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