Belfast Telegraph

Baby May Rose Gibney's heartbroken mum pays tribute as 'princess' loses battle for life

By Angela Rainey

A grieving mother whose baby girl died from a rare birth defect just a short while after being discharged from hospital has said she is proud of how hard her "little princess" fought.

May Rose Gibney from Moy, Co Tyrone, who was just six months old, died yesterday from encephalocele, a condition that causes part of the brain to grow outside the skull.

Babies born with encephalocele, which is caused in the early stages of pregnancy when the neural tube does not fully close, are not expected to survive beyond their first months.

May Rose left Craigavon Hospital on Sunday, and died just 15 minutes after arriving home.

The tot was born on March 9, and although unable to cry, began reaching small milestones, like feeding from a bottle.

Proud mother Analee Gibney (24) exhausted treatment options in both Northern Ireland and England to seek help, while family and friends raised over £7,000 to pay privately for consultations in the US.

In August little May Rose underwent extensive brain surgery, but hope faded when she suffered a series of strokes and her mother was told the awful news that nothing more could be done.

Her six-month battle drew well-wishers from around the world, who followed May Rose's progress online and who posted words of encouragement.

Ms Gibney announced the news of her daughter's passing on social media yesterday. She said her heart had been "ripped apart".

She wrote: "It's with a very heavy heartbroken, ripped-apart heart I write this status. After nine months of pregnancy and six months, three weeks and one day of life, my precious wee angel lost her battle and gained her beautiful angel wings.

"After being sent home from the hospital again, May Rose passed away within 15 minutes of getting home. May Rose fought with every bit of her body to make it this far."

Ms Gibney paid tribute to "her hero", who she said "put up one hell of a fight", made her proud and also made her a "better person".

She added: "You've now spread your wings and flying high with the angels, you were such a miracle to us all and we all love you so much.

"Brought such tears of joy to everyone no matter what. We love you beautiful, sleep tight up there princess."

A private wake was held last night at the family home on Moy Road, while an open wake for those wishing to pay their respects will take place today.

A funeral service will be held for May Rose tomorrow at 11am at the Church of St Malachy, Ballymoyer Road, Whitecross.

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