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An east Belfast family who have had four children die from a rare condition say they want to do all they can to enrich the life of their three-year-old daughter, who has the same illness.
Little Lacey Pollock spent the first two years of her life in hospital because of the as-yet undiagnosed condition, which is life-limiting.
She needs 24 hour care - she doesn’t walk or talk and is fed through a peg, and needs oxygen at night.
Her mum, Jamie Pollock, said: “There is no diagnosis.
“We just take each day as it comes. Lacey is happy and she’s loved unconditionally and I wouldn’t change anything for the world.”
The Pollocks now want to transform their garden into a place where Lacey and her brothers can make memories together, and remember the loved ones they have lost.
Jamie added: “We don’t know how long we’ve got Lacey for, we just want to make her life as nice while we can."
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An eyewitness has described the distressing scenes as medics tried to save the life of a schoolgirl in Portadown.
It comes as police continue to investigate a possible drugs link to the death of the 15-year-old in the Corcrain area of the town on Saturday evening.
She has been named locally as Caitlin White.
A woman who had been walking her dog when the emergency services arrived said it was upsetting to see the distress in such young faces as medics tried to save the teenager.
She said there was “panic”, adding: “Seeing the child come into the ambulance, it was just unbelievable”.
Caitlin had come to the newly-developed woodland in the Corcrain Housing Estate to socialise with friends, but she took suddenly ill around tea-time and collapsed.
She died in hospital later that night.
Youth worker Darryn Causby said: “The young people who knew this girl are deeply upset and quite honestly are hurting.
“That said, so are the family, they have lost their daughter and my thoughts turn to them.”
Flowers and messages have been left in tribute to the teenager, who was a pupil at Craigavon Senior High School.
GCSE exams took place as scheduled on Monday but the Education Authority put in place specially-trained advisors to help pupils talk through the shocking news if needed.
The death has shocked the local community but youth and community workers said there are concerns about the problem of young people drinking and taking drugs in the wider Craigavon area.
Community worker Campbell Best said: “The community centre was sold off a number of years ago and once it was sold off it was almost in a sense as if people felt hope had been removed from the area.
"For many of these young people it has led to experimenting with things and drugs being part of that process and taking additional risks that they wouldn't normally have taken."
Meanwhile a post mortem examination is being carried out to determine the exact cause of Caitlin White’s death.
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