The Derry Trust Fund (DTF) are appealing to the public for donations in order to help them complete a kidney dialysis treatment room in Lourdes.
The St. John The Baptist Medical facility, Bartrès Lourdes, installed two dialysis units thanks to over £60, 000 donated to the DTF by the Derry public.
Liz Zammitt of the DTF, said: “We need a further £12, 000 in order to pay for upkeep and to complete the machines. A pump for the second machine is now required. Thanks to the fundraising of the DTF, dialysis treatment is offered to pilgrims from all over the world.”
The Trust make four or five pilgrimages to Lourdes annually and facilite the visit of roughly 400 Derry people to the French town. Thanks to the “continuous” fundraising of the group, ill pilgrims most in need of a miracle, travel free however their loved ones are asked to pay for their own travel arrangements.
Anna Dillon of the DTF said: “The only thing we haven’t done to raise money is a calendar!”
The ladies also appealed for donations. They are repeating last year’s successful campaign to collect blankets which are then donated to hospitals in Lourdes: Mrs. Dillon explained: “We need small knitted squares (7”x 7”) or wool which can then be turned into blankets. We have always been inundated by the kind Derry public.”
In fact when the group, who all work voluntarily, knitted the squares into blankets they had 150 complete blankets to keep the sick warm in Lourdes.
“You be very proud of Derry when you see those blankets being used,” said Liz.
“The group have appealed for donations, financial and otherwise, large and small, to help paypatients’ fees to Lourdes and installing the kidney treatments. “We used to sneak out a kidney dialysis machine ourselves but we can no longer do that,” explained Anna.
In fact Mrs. Dillon was challenged by one airplane pilot wanting to know what the equipment was as dialysis units are banned from aircraft.
“He told me; ‘If you’re taking a chance to help these people I’ll do the same.’
That was seven years ago but the DTF have been helping the sick and ill people of Derry travel to Lourdes for almost 40 years.
“Looking after sick people has always been important to us,” explained Anna.
The organisation is a registered charity and separate from the Catholic Church.
Contact Anna on 71 418927 or Liz on 71341205.