About Ronan McElligott


Ronan John McElligott was born on March 5, 2007. For months we eagerly awaited his arrival, waiting for the addition that was to make our family complete. At last he arrived, all nine pounds, two ounces of him. Ronan was as handsome as his older sister Brynn was beautiful. She was thrilled to be a big sister, and took her job as Mommy and Daddy’s little helper very seriously. Ronan came home a few days later and we quickly adapted to life with two children, with all its tears, smiles, and more than a few diapers and sleepless nights.

When Ronan was just four months of age, he was diagnosed with an extremely rare neurometabolic disorder called Leigh’s disease. Ronan was hospitalized and over a matter of weeks, this very progressive disease made it impossible for Ronan to swallow on his own or control his head, arm, or leg movements. Within a few more weeks, he could not breathe on his own or regulate body temperature, heart rate, or blood pressure functions. His disease progressed very rapidly, and just five days shy of his 6-month birthday, Ronan passed away. There is currently no cure and no treatment for Leigh’s disease.

We did not know at the time how rapidly Ronan’s disease would progress. We prepared ourselves for life with a severely disabled child, determined to provide him the best we could give him for as long as he would be with us. His life would be challenging, but we would do our best to give him the same opportunities as other children.

I guess our determination to make sure Ronan had the same opportunities as other kids is what led us to this playground. Shortly after Ronan passed away, we took his sister Brynn to a nearby playground. A healthy 3-year-old, there was nothing she couldn’t do that day. But I looked around and realized that if Ronan was still with us at that same age, there was nothing that he could have done at that playground.

That became our inspiration – to make Ronan McElligott Memorial Playground a place where children like Ronan can play right alongside their siblings and friends. Because every child deserves a place to play.

The measure of a person’s life, especially one taken from us far too soon, is not counted in years, but by the lives affected because he lived.