Shore holds night for boy cured of neurological disease

JON GERARDI/Sun-Gazette Declan O’Brien of Jersey Shore, with parents Matt and Amber.

For 4-year-old Declan O’Brien, the only thing he wanted to do was to be able to play basketball with Mickey Mouse.

While unfortunately he wasn’t able to play basketball with him, he will be able to meet him. Declan, the son of Amber and Matt O’Brien, will be headed to Disney World in Florida in a few weeks as part of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Matt O’Brien was the Jersey Shore baseball coach from 2011-2014.

Declan was honored prior to Friday’s basketball game between Selinsgrove and Jersey Shore and received gifts from the Jersey Shore cheerleaders, the Jersey Shore girls basketball team and a signed basketball from the boys basketball team.

“He’s never been to a basketball game actually, so this is first for him and really a great celebration that he’s very excited about,” Amber O’Brien said. “He just wants to watch the basketball game.

“That was his wish: basketball and Mickey Mouse. Tonight (he sees a basketball game) and going to Disney fulfill all of his dreams, so we’re excited about that.”

Declan had Vein of Galen Malformation, an often fatal brain malformation that often results in high-output congestive heart failure. In addition, many who have it have a malformation that cannot be corrected.

But thankfully for young Declan, the doctors cured him.

“As of last week he is cured with Vein of Galen Malformation with of course side effects,” Amber O’Brien said, noting he suffered two strokes. “But as far as we know, regarding Vein of Galen Malfor­mation, he’s cured.”

Friday’s support could be seen all over Jersey Shore’s gym. From the cheerleaders and Jersey Shore girls basketball players wearing “Declan Strong” shirts to the boys basketball team wearing the shirts as warmups prior to the game to the special cheer the cheerleaders performed for Declan prior to tipoff.

We had so much support over last three-and-a-half years with Declan and Matt, really it’s hard to describe,” Amber O’Brien said. “So to have them recognize us, it’s great.”

“It’s been a long four years, but it’s amazing,” Matt O’Brien said of the support. “This is great to just enjoy it with our family and friends.”