The head of fundraising at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin has paid tribute to all who are involved in a mammoth Inishowen-wide fundraiser for the vital facility.
Gerry Cully was speaking to the Journal in the packed-out Plaza in Buncrana on Saturday at the launch of ‘Relay for Crumlin’ during which over 30 people from across the peninsula will complete a non-stop relay from Malin Head to Mizen Head.
The big event itself takes place over the June Bank Holiday next year and a number of fundraising events will be held across Inishowen prior to this, including a Gala Ball in February.
The relays will be completed by the runners taking part via marathon stages over two and a half days.
It’s an intriguing fundraiser and something which one of its chief organisers, Michael Bradley, has been wanting to do for some time.
Michael, who has championed and raised money for Crumlin Hospital for a number of years, said the event was a challenge, not a race and hopes the people of Inishowen would show their support.
He said: “The runners are from all around Inishowen and this is a peninsula-wide event. Everyone taking part is really enthusiastic and we’ve had great support so far. The money is being raised through sponsorship and also from events taking place in Inishowen. There was an emergency services clay shoot on Saturday and on October 15th, there will be a big bingo in the Plaza. On 9th October, there will be a coffee morning and guest tea in the Ballyliffin Hotel and we also have a number of people raising money through the Christmas swims. We then have the Gala ball in February in the Inishowen Gateway Hotel.”
A large number of local businesses have also sponsored the event.
Mr Cully, who along with his colleague Johan Fox, head of corporate fundraising, travelled from Dublin to attend the launch, said the support had a direct and positive effect on services at the hospital.
He said: “I’m actually a bit shocked by the amount of support here today and absolutely delighted. This is the first event we have planned for 2016 and the first launch. It’s just a fantastic idea.
“People like Michael and his team are a fantastic example of people power. The support they have given to us enables us to ensure a great quality of care for our patients. All of the fundraisers play an important role in the quality of work that goes on within the hospital.
“We opened a new cardiac and cancer unit and Michael and his team gave us great support with that. We also have research projects into areas such as cancer, diabetes and obesity and the reality of these two units means each child who comes into them has their own private ward. Also, every patient in the cancer ward has their own en-suite facility.
“It also helps improves the services to parents. They have the en-suite facilities and beds in that ward where they can sleep with their child. That is the power of the people and we are truly grateful to people like Michael and his team for their support and the work they do.”
Mr Cully paid tribute to the “massive support” from all those who turned out at the Plaza for the launch.
He said: “People are very passionate about Crumlin and I don’t think there’s a household in the country which has not been affected in some way. We are grateful for the support and, in fact, Donegal is one of the biggest supporters of Crumlin hospital nationwide.”
Mr Cully told those gathered how Crumlin hospital has 249 patients at one time and 1200 members of staff employed there.
60% of children entered into the Cardiac ward are newborn babies and he added all at the hospital “try to keep life as normal as possible” for the children.
For more details on the fundraising events coming up, check out the facebook page ‘Relay for Crumlin.’ Tables of 10 and tickets are now being sold for the Gala Ball and are going fast.
It takes place on February 20th in the Inishowen Gateway Hotel. Doors open at 7pm and there will be a champagne reception and music by the David Craig Band. Tables of 10 are available or individual tickets. To book, contact Trina MhicDhonaill 0864021032 or Elizabeth McDaid 0861673848.