A young mother who battled vainly to save her 29-year-old husband after he suffered a massive heart attack at their Londonderry home has said she is "completely overwhelmed" by the public response to a poignant plea for birthday cards for her heartbroken twins.
Bronagh Burke's husband Thomas collapsed at the couple's Culmore home in Derry on April 23 after returning home from a cycle ride.
Despite her frantic attempts to save him as their young children looked on in horror, keep fit enthusiast Thomas sadly passed away.
Last week, through this newspaper, Bronagh asked the public for a favour: to send the couple's traumatised children a card for their fourth birthday on June 28.
Bronagh said the family had been overwhelmed by the response, with 300 cards and parcels arriving in the last week alone, as well as hundreds or messages and wellwishes from as far away as Europe.
"The response to the appeal has just taken off," she said. "It went viral last week and so far we have had almost 300 birthday cards for the twins. That is amazing in just one week. We are absolutely over the Moon and beyond delighted with the huge response.
"It's so nice and so touching that people have reached out to us. It's not just people in Derry, it's people from throughout the world. We have cards from Italy and Spain.
"I'm just delighted for Adam and Aoife. As I said before, I would do anything I can and am doing anything in my power to make them smile for that day, a day where they are in no pain.
"I really just want to make a big deal out of their birthday, because they deserve it. They have been through some things that adults shouldn't have to witness, never mind three-year-old children. It's going to be even more difficult for them because this is their first birthday without their daddy. So I'm just trying my best to make their time just that little bit easier. I want them to know years down the line that I tried my best for them and I'm doing everything I can for them and making their daddy proud."
Bronagh says they are waiting until the 28th to open all the cards and she wants to record it so the twins can look back on it in years to come.
"My friend put her address down so that people could send cards there," she said. "We are keeping the cards at her house until the twins' birthday. I already got her two big buckets to store the cards, but I had to go and get her another one, there were so many.
"We are going to open them on their birthday morning, and I'm going to get the man who did our wedding video to come and film it so they have it when they are older. We have had a lot of support. We had great support from footballer James McClean. He got involved in a 48-hour running challenge I was doing and asked me where I wanted his fundraising to go.
"I said for him to donate it to the Trojans Football Club team under-fives team that my husband 'Burkey' would have coached. James did that and it was amazing.
"He says he has something else planned for Adam and Aoife for their birthday, but he won't tell me yet. So that is exciting.
"People have been so kind and the amount of parcels that have come to my friend's address for their birthday has been unbelievable. The twins' birthday has been fully covered by people in the town, between birthday cakes and bouncy castles.
"Spider-Man actually called to my mother's house yesterday with presents for the twins. He was amazing and stayed in character the whole time. We don't even know who he was. He thought that their birthday was this week.
"The kids were absolutely delighted. He just came to the door and just went again and that was that, just like Spider-Man. He made it so real. They are still talking about it.
"Things like that are so lovely and so touching, and it really just means so much to Adam and Aoife. And also, it is really helping with my own grief. Sometimes when their pain is taken away for just a moment, it means a huge amount."
Bronagh says she will be forever grateful to those who reached out to them in these dark times.
She said her aim is to allow her twins - who ran to a neighbour's house for help as their mother tried to resuscitate their father - to forget their pain.
"I tell Adam and Aoife every day how many cards they have," she said. "They are so excited for their birthday, and this is a great distraction in a way for them, because they are going through a lot of trauma and will have to deal with a lot of trauma. If I can make this small thing work for them and make a difference to them, that's my job done.
"It's hard being hit by direct questions off Adam and Aoife every day about their daddy that sometimes I can't answer, it's really tough.
"I would like to say thank you to those who took the time out of their day to think about them and send them a birthday card. I can't even thank people enough. I will be forever grateful for it all. It means so much. It's the smallest gesture, sending the twins a card, but I hope they know the impact and how much this means to them. People are so good and so kind."
If you want to send Aoife and Adam a birthday card before their birthday on June 28, please send it to 24 Gelvin Gardens, Trench Road, Waterside, Derry, BT47 2DQ.