Dublin teenager Triona Priestley died peacefully in hospital yesterday, moments after her idol Ed Sheeran had sang to her down the phone.
Triona suffered from Cystic Fibrosis, and in the last few weeks of her life she became weaker and weaker as the doctors confirmed she had little hope of recovery. The brave teen fought the condition and remained positive throughout.
She revealed that her final wish was to hear from her favourite musician, Ed Sheeran. Her friends began a Twitter campaign and within hours #SongForTri was trending on the social media platform.
News of the campaign reached Sheeran, who got in touch with the hospital and spoke to Triona around lunchtime yesterday. The singer confirmed to independent.ie: “I managed to get in contact with Triona. It’s so sad.”
Triona’s brother Colm made a statement thanking Sheeran and everyone who supported Triona:
“Myself and my family would like to thank Ed Sheeran and everyone who started and supported the #SongForTri campaign. What they gave us and her was a beautiful last moment together. Triona slipped into a sleep as Ed was singing to her and passed away shortly afterwards. So Ed Sheeran sang her to sleep. We would like to thank everyone who played their part in making that happen.”
Triona faced her condition head-on, without fear or bitterness. She even tweeted a double picture of herself for Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Week to raise awareness.
In one picture she was laid down surrounded by typical teenage items such as mobile phone, make-up and shoes. In the second, she was laid down in the same pose but surrounded by pills, needles and various other pieces of medical equipment that need to be used by Cystic Fibrosis sufferers.
Independent.ie journalist Orla Tinsley is a friend of the Priestly family. She has worked to raise awareness about Cystic Fibrosis, and improve the treatment and quality of life of sufferers. Triona contacted her for support in dealing with her condition, and Tinsley helped her build the confidence to face Cystic Fibrosis head on, and raise awareness about the disease.
She wrote an online blog to support Triona shortly before she died. In it, Tinsley described how Triona had contacted her after seeing her on television talking about Cystic Fibrosis in 2009:
“The blonde haired, blue eyed girl had seen me on The Late Late Show talking about Cystic Fibrosis. The next day she walked into her classroom and told her teacher she wanted to talk to the class. She felt like she should be proud and decided it was time to explain why she was sick all the time. It was one of the most moving emails I have ever read.”
Triona’s brother Colm added in his statement: “We are all so proud of Triona and how she fought Cystic Fibrosis. Everyone loved Triona so much and she knew that. Thank you.” He then requested that the public and the media now respect his family’s privacy.
Ed Sheeran tweeted: “Rest in peace Triona, so heartbreaking x.”