‘Massive’ community fundraising effort to raise money for charities

The December 27th charity night is just one of several events organised.
The December 27th charity night is just one of several events organised.

A ‘massive’ charity effort is taking place in and around the Benedy area over the Christmas period to raise money for two charities.

The fundraising drive was started by Laura and Sean Hasson who live in the Benedy.

Events organised include a charity cycle, a beauty pampering day and a concert with all proceeds for The Rapunzel Foundation and Epilepsy Action.

“It all began when a lady said to me did I ever think of having my hair cut and donating my hair for a wig?,” said Laura, a hairdresser of 25 years.

“With the passing of our daughter, Ryanna, with epilepsy in August, and a friend who has a child with leukemia, I thought it was the right time to do something.”

Laura and Sean’s daughter, six year-old Ryanna suffered from severe epilepsy.

The community rallied earlier this year, and money was raised to buy a seizure response dog for Rhianna.

The family received the dog, a Golden Retriever Labrador called Jesse, on August 6.

After being admitted to hospital just three days later, Ryanna died on August 13th.

Laura said when she contacted the organisation to tell them what happened, and that she wanted to return the dog, the organisation kindly said the family could keep Jesse and returned the money raised. The money has been used to give donations to six local charities, and the remainder will go towards buying a defibrillator for Benedy Community Hall, said Laura.

Sean and Laura want to give back and, thanks to a supportive community, events have been raised over Christmas for The Rapunzel Foundation and Epilepsy Action.

On Monday, December 21, there is a ‘pampering night’ at The Beautie Parlour in Feeny village from 4-9pm. On December 26th, a 24-mile Boxing Day cycle has been organised at Banagher Dam, meeting at 9am at Tricks Filling Station. There is also a Boxing Day Hair Bonanza from 9am-3pm at 10 Woodland Drive in Dernaflaw.

On Sunday, December 27th a charity night in aid of The Rapunzel Foundation and Epilepsy Action will be held in the Benedy Hall, with an outdoor heated marquee. Kicking off with The Muddlers Club from 7pm, the evening features a raffle, auction and hair donations. There will also be music by Terence McIlvar, and light refreshments will be available on the night. Admission at the door is £10 and there will be transport available from the venue.

Laura and a number of other local woman, are also having their hair cut for The Rapunzel Foundation. Laura had 16 and a half inches of her locks cut off.

“I’ve cut plenty of hair in 25 years, but I found this very emotional,” she said.

“Before, it was to cut hair to be swept up and put in the bin, but this is to do something good. It’s to be used so a child can wear it. You can’t buy that.”

The last hair cut will be on December 27th on the night of the dance.

Laura said the family have been overwhelmed by the support from the community.

“People want to help. We never had to ask anyone for anything.

“People are so good,” said Laura.

Another fundraiser - A Night of the Races - originally scheduled for December 27th has been re-scheduled and will take place on January 30th in Benedy Community Hall.