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The Leader Column 11 September 2019

The Leader Column 11 September 2019

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The Leader Column 11 September 2019

The Leader Column 11 September 2019                                                      

Richard Lynch, ilovelimerick with Jp McManus, Paul O’Connell, Helen O’Donnell and Senator Maria Byrne at the People’s Park for Team Limerick Clean Up 4 which took place on Friday, March 30. Picture: Cian Reinhardt/ilovelimerick

Over 18,500 volunteers join forces for Team Limerick Clean Up 4

Paul O’Connell and JP McManus visit communities across Limerick to help with mass tidy-up

A record-breaking 18,500 volunteers have participated in Team Limerick CleanUp 4, Ireland’s largest one-day tidy-up. Across hundreds of locations around Limerick city and county, teams of schoolchildren, businesses, residential groups, Tidy Towns and sports clubs have come together today (Good Friday, March 30) to give their community a Spring Clean and make Limerick the tidiest and cleanest place in the country.

With an increase of 2,000 volunteers from 2017’s event, the clean-up was launched by sponsor JP McManus and ambassador Paul O’Connell at the People’s Park, Limerick, this morning. Ex-Munster and Ireland rugby captain O’Connell, who has led the cleaning charge since its inception in 2015, said he was delighted with the record turnout across the county.

“It’s amazing to see such a community effort from the people of Limerick, with everybody coming together to help make their neighbourhoods and surrounding areas as tidy as possible. What started out as a small local initiative has become an annual fixture on Good Friday where people from every pocket of Limerick are now getting involved” he said.

Team Limerick Clean-Up (TLC) is an initiative sponsored by the JP McManus Benevolent Fund and administered by Limerick City and County Council. Endorsed by Paul O’Connell, the official partners include Mr. Binman, The Limerick Leader, and Limerick’s Live 95FM. Participants this year included current and ex-Munster rugby players Keith Earls, David Wallace and Jerry Flannery.

Team Limerick Clean Up

J.P. McManus, Richard Lynch, and Paul O Connell pictured at Team Limerick Clean Up 4. Picture: Cian Reinhardt/ilovelimerick

 

It is estimated that over 70 tonnes of litter were collected last year by the event partner, Mr. Binman, something that sponsor JP McManus is very proud of.

“I’d like to thank each and every volunteer who has given some of their time on what is a very cold day. This is an annual event that is very close to my heart and I’m delighted to see participation numbers continuing to grow, year on year,” said Mr. McManus, when he spoke about Team Limerick Clean Up 4.

As part of the clean-up effort by Tait House Community Enterprise Centre, they held their first ever ‘Trash Fashion’ event at Roxboro Road. Participants created a design or dress up using recycled, sustainable, eco-friendly art materials, which was judged by members of the community.

Following the mass clean-up around Limerick, tea and coffee gatherings for volunteers, neighbours, and friends were hosted at over 300 locations throughout the county. These took place in homes, community and sports centres and schools, where participants celebrated their tidy neighbourhoods.

 

For more stories on Team Limerick Clean Up click here

For more information on Team Limerick Clean Up click here

John Farrelly, 17, winner of the Senior Irelands Young Filmmaker of the Year Awards 2018 pictured with his family at Fresh Film Festival at Odeon Cinema, Castletroy Limerick. Picture: Cian Reinhardt/ilovelimerick

Irelands Young Filmmaker of the Year 2018 Senior Finals announces winners

Irelands Young Filmmaker of the Year 2018 Senior finals announced its winners at the Fresh Film Festival 2018 in Limerick on Thursday, March 22. The competition, which received a record of almost 1,500 entries this year, announced the winners at the Odeon Castletroy.

Limerick winners included Melanie O’Donnell, from Limerick aged 18 took home third place for her film ‘Catharsis’ and Luke Culhane, aged 15 from Castletroy who took home the RTÉ Factual Award for his film ‘What’s Your Story?’.

Melanie O’Donnell, aged 18 from Adare, Limerick took home third place for her film ‘Catharsis’, in which a young patient purges her mind through art with the help of her psychiatrist. Speaking about her third-place finish, Melanie said, “I’ve been making films for seven years and I have to say when it comes to making films, whatever age you are, you have to have perseverance, patience, and passion”.

Limerick’s Luke Culhane, aged 15 from Castletroy, also took home the RTÉ Factual Award for his film ‘What’s Your Story?’. Speaking about his win, Luke said, ”I’m speechless. The standard was so high. I have no words. I’m really proud and honoured”.

17-year-old John Farrelly from Warrenpoint, Down, took home the title of Ireland’s Young Senior Filmmaker of the year 2018  at the Irelands Young Filmmaker of the Year 2018 Senior Finals for his short film ‘Choice’, a boy suspects there is something not quite right with his life. Speaking about his win, said, “I’m so glad I won Ireland’s Young Filmmaker of the Year 2018. I worked really hard and the hard work paid off. I would encourage anyone interested in film to enter next year as it’s a great opportunity and encourages young people to make films”.

Sean Treacy, aged 13 from Ashford, Wicklow was the second place winner Irelands Young Filmmaker of the Year 2018 Senior Finals for his film ‘Brother’, in which two kids become unlikely friends after they forced to spend time together. Speaking about his second place, Sean said, “Today has probably been one of the best days of my life. The standard was on a whole other level than I think anyone here expected. Fresh Film Festival is making so many stars here because the level of filmmaking was just amazing. I’m so shocked and so blessed to have come second place”.

Irelands Young Filmmaker of the Year 2018 Senior Finals

Melanie O’Donnell, 18, Limerick with her family who won third place at Ireland’s Young Filmmaker of the Year Awards 2018 Senior Finals which took place at Odeon Cinema, Castletroy Limerick. Picture: Cian Reinhardt/ilovelimerick.

Waterford’s SWAY Project won Best Group at Ireland’s Young Filmmaker of the Year 2018 for their films ‘Useless’ and ‘DUFF’, with the latter also taking home the Audience Award on the day. Speaking about their win, Youth Worker Eoin Dalton said, “We are delighted to win. They are a great bunch of young people and they put so much work into their films and took their responsibilities as filmmakers very seriously”.

Other entries received highly commended honours on the day, including CBS Ennistymon in Clare for Ensemble, Jack Doyle from Kildare for Performance, Rueben Harvey from Laois for Comedy, Josh Lynas from Down for Direction and Dónal Cotter from Dublin for Production Design.

Irelands Young Filmmaker of the Year 2018 Senior finals

Luke Culhane, (15), Castletroy, Limerick winner of the RTE Factual Award at Senior Ireland’s Young Filmmaker of the Year Awards 2018 which took place at Odeon Cinema, Castletroy Limerick. Picture: Cian Reinhardt/ilovelimerick

In addition to the Ireland’s Young Filmmaker of the Year awards, a number of specialist awards were presented on the day including Emily McGee, aged 18 from Kilkenny City whose film ‘Bird’ took home the Boulder Media Award for animation, and Aaron Moloney, aged 19 from Clonlara, Clare, whose film ‘ Toast’ won RTÉ 60 Second Award. Additionally, Jakub Bajerski, aged 17 from Ennis, Clare, won the TG4 Award for the best film in the Irish Language for his film ‘The Baile Mór’, while Anna Murray, aged 16 from Loreto Secondary School in Fermoy won the Radharc Senior Award for her film ‘Traveller Life: The Reality’.

Ireland’s Young Filmmaker of the Year is the highlight of Limerick’s Fresh Film Festival, which is now in its 22nd Year. Other highlights of Fresh Film Festival 2018 include feature screenings and workshops including an animation workshop with Brazilian animator Alexandre Almeida Juruena De Mattos.

Fresh Film Festival encourages young people from Ireland and overseas, aged 7 to 18 years, to create, exhibit and share films.  The festival provides an opportunity for these young filmmakers to have their work seen on a cinema screen for the first time and to compete for the title of Ireland’s Young Filmmaker of the Year.  All films submitted are also considered for a range of Specialist Awards including the Radharc Trust Award (documentary), the Boulder Media Animation Award, the RTE 60 Second Short Film Award and the RTE Factual Award, in addition to the International and Audience awards.

Reflecting on this year’s Festival, Fresh Film Festival Director Jayne Foley commented, “This is our 22nd Fresh Film Festival, so it’s a huge Festival this year. We’ve had 1,500 films from filmmakers all over the world. We are here with a packed, packed cinema, so it’s a great success. We are delighted to have all of these young filmmakers from around the globe joining us for the Festival this year”.

Further details about the Fresh Film Festival can be found here.

For more stories on the Fresh Film Festival, go here.

Celia Holman Lee and Focus Ireland have recruited Limerick’s top digital influencers in support of Irelands Great Get Together. Pictured at the Shannon Rowing Club in Limerick, from left to right – Lousie Cooney, Patrick McLoughney, Shauna Lindsay, Celia Holman Lee, Sinead O’Brien, Leanne Moore and Richard Lynch (front centre). Picture: Dermot Culhane. 

Irelands Great Get Together – Celia Holman Lee and Limerick Digital Influencers support Focus Ireland

Nearly 9000 people in Ireland are now homeless and over 3000 of these are children. Focus Ireland with support from Bord Gais Energy, is calling on people all over Ireland to take part in ‘Ireland’s Great Get Together’ this April 20 – 22nd, to raise vital funds to help prevent family homelessness.

Celia Holman Lee responded to the call and with the help of her friend Richard Lynch of I Love Limerick got Limerick’s top digital influencers together for a photo shoot with award-winning photographer Dermot Culhane in Limerick’s Shannon Rowing Club in support of the campaign. The group also shot a Public Service Announcement asking the public to get involved in the campaign. The digital influencers involved in the campaign with Celia were Leanne Moore, Louise Cooney, Shauna Lindsay, Patrick McLoughney, Richard Lynch and Sinead O’Brien of Sinead’s Curvy Style.

Irelands Great Get Together

Celia Holman Lee and Focus Ireland have recruited Limerick’s top digital influencers in support of Irelands Great Get Together. Pictured at the Shannon Rowing Club in Limerick, from left to right – Lousie Cooney, Patrick McLoughney, Shauna Lindsay, Celia Holman Lee, Sinead O’Brien, Leanne Moore and Richard Lynch (front centre). Picture: Dermot Culhane.

Speaking at her Get Together Celia said, “I’m delighted to support Irelands Great Get Together for Focus Ireland. I sadly see the heartbreaking impact of homelessness all around me in Limerick every day and it’s a cause that is very close to my heart. I come from a large family and I would hate to think of any of them feeling alone or worried about losing their home. Irelands Great Get Together is all about Home, Family, Friends and Community all of which I strongly believe in and which are key to us all. It’s about bringing people together to help prevent families in your neighbourhood from becoming homeless. It’s a great cause and I urge everyone to get involved”.

Speaking about Celia’s involvement in the campaign Rebecca Reynolds, National Fundraising Initiatives Manager said “Celia is an ambassador of Focus Ireland and we are thrilled to have her support and the support of six of Limericks top Fashion and Digital Influencers whom she invited to take part in her Great Get Together.  They have a collective following of over 250,000 people on Instagram alone, so if that isn’t a Great Get together I don’t know what is! They are all fantastic to lend their support and time voluntarily to Focus Irelands first Great Get Together campaign to help us spread the word. We hope that lots of their fans follow their lead and have their own Get Together. It doesn’t matter how big or how small”.

Celia is now calling on you to support Focus Ireland and host a Get Together of your own. Why not host a fun fashion Get Together with friends swapping clothes, accessories and styling hints and tips! Or have a best-dressed competition at work or your local club!! Whatever you do is up to you – as long as you bring people together to do something you love while helping to raise funds for Focus Ireland’s work to combat and prevent homelessness. #gettogether #focusireland #bordgaisenergy

For more information and to register go here.

For more stories on Focus Ireland, go here.

Croí Glas launch

At the official Croí Glas launch at the Hunt Museum – Colman Byrne, Limerick Open Navigation, Helen O Donnell, Limerick Tidy Towns, filmmaker Namu Desai, musician Moley O Súilleabháin, Richard Lynch and Anna Gibson Steel, Croí Glas, publicist Niamh O’Carroll, Nóirín Ní Riain, Croí Glas, Marian Hurley, Deputy Mayor Limerick City and County, Rugby legend Peter Clohessy (front) and Elisa O’Donovan of Swimable Limerick (back). Picture: Dolf Patijn/ilovelimerick.

Croí Glas launch celebrates the River Shannon in all her glory!

Croí Glas is a new Limerick-based initiative that celebrates and creates positive energy around the River Shannon and invites everyone to get involved. The Croí Glas launch and first official Croí Glas event, ‘Listen to the River’ was held over St. Patrick’s weekend.

The project first came about when Irish sacred singer, Dr. Nóirín Ní Riain and Holistic Practitioner, Anna Gibson Steel decided they wanted to do something positive around the river and approached Richard Lynch to help them develop their idea. Richard agreed that the project would greatly benefit and change people’s perception of the River Shannon, and suggested that the team use aspects such as arts and culture as a way of encouraging people to express their love of the Shannon.

This past weekend Croí Glas held their official launch at the Hunt Museum on St. Patricks Day with guest of honour composer Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin followed by musical performances by Moley Ó Súilleabháin, Owen Ó Súilleabháin and Dr. Nóirín Ní Riain. Their float at the parade featured Elisa O’Donovan of Swimable Limerick on a Salmon Boat playing the Goddess Sionna, who gave her name to the River Shannon.

Croí Glas launch

At the Croí Glas launch at the Hunt Museum – Nóirín Ní Riain, Richard Lynch and Anna Gibson Steel of Croí Glas with Irish composer Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin (second from right) who was the guest of honour at the event. Picture: Dolf Patijn/ilovelimerick.

Speaking at the official press launch on Saturday, guest speaker, and musician Micheál Ó Súilleaháin shared his own wisdom of the River Shannon and described the river as Ireland’s “cultural spine” which touches all four provinces. He reflected on the thousands of years of stories the river held before us and spoke of the first stories of the Shannon dating back to around 800 years ago, noting the “powerfulness” of people referencing the poem named ‘How the River Shannon got its name’.

Micheál also paid homage to Fionn MacCumhaill and the salmon of knowledge, and spoke of how “the river Shannon is a majestic river full of fish and wise salmon.”

On Sunday, Croí Glas held their first official event ‘Listen to the River’. The concept for this event was the brainchild of Ray O’Halloran of Limerick City Build to “bring together arts, culture, mythology, music, social inclusion, boating and water-sports to the general public.”

Theatre practitioner Ann Blake produced an event where the Goddess Sionna was returned to the River Shannon surrounded by three watercrafts created by Limerick City Build especially for the event, with one of the craft transporting the famous uilleann pipe player, Mickey Dunne.

On the opposite banks of the Shannon, the event was celebrated musically with Dr Noírín Ní Riain on one side and Owen and Moley Ó Súilleabháin on the other. The Croí Glas logo was unveiled in spectacular fashion by fly-boarders flying above the river.

Croí Glas launch

At the official launch of Croí Glas at the Hunt Museum – Richard Lynch and Anna Gibson Steel of Croí Glas with Rugby legend Peter Clohessy and Nóirín Ní Riain, Croí Glas (front) and Elisa O’Donovan of Swimable Limerick (back). Picture: Dolf Patijn/ilovelimerick.

The public is invited to create their own events inspired by the Shannon and register them on the Croi Glas website so they can be shared with the wider community. In this way, all of us will be on the same page and work together in celebration of the Shannon.

Croí Glas ambassadors include composer and musician Míchéal Ó Súilleabháin, comedian Jimmy Carr, singer and poet Moley Ó Súilleabháin, Lough Gur Centre Manager Kate Harrold, Colman Byrne of Limerick Open Navigation, Ireland rugby star Peter Clohessy and Niamh O’ Carroll who won the UL Outstanding Contribution to Society/Humanitarian Award in 2009.

For more stories on Croí Glas go here.

For more information on Croí Glas go here.

 

Thomond Community College Multicultural

Thomond Community College Multicultural Day 2018 – Richard Lynch pictured with students and Principal Eugene O Brien. Picture: Ciara Maria Hayes/ilovelimerick

Thomond Community College Multicultural Day 2018

https://www.facebook.com/ilovelimerick/videos/10157311732441110/

Thomond Community College Multicultural Day 2018 was held Friday, March 9 and there were plenty of colourful photo opportunities available with participating students in national costume. Richard Lynch was honoured to be the Master of Ceremonies again for the sixth consecutive year. Previously, the event was held at the Salesians School before it closed two years ago and every year the event is organised by an amazing teacher named Siobhan Conway.

Thomond Community College Multicultural Day 2018 was a hugely worthwhile, inclusive event, which gave each and every student the opportunity to showcase their home nation and educate their fellow students. To see the pride of students in their native traditions and language is just wonderful. So many students can truly find a voice through this event and all in attendance, students, staff, parents, and guests, learned so much – it truly is an education for all. The day created a real opportunity to celebrate both diversity and integration.

Thomond Community College Multicultural Day 2018

At the Thomond Community College Multicultural Day 2018, Richard pictured with teacher and organiser Siobhan Conway, Sr. Bridget O’Connell and Principal Eugene O’Brien (back) and pupils Merit Amadasun, Aisha Garba and Temera Odhomor, all aged 15 from Nigeria (front). Picture: Ciara Maria Hayes/ilovelimerick.

Countries that were showcased at Thomond Community College Multicultural Day 2018 include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Lithuania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Morroco, South Africa, Poland, Nigeria, The Congo, The USA, and Syria to name just a few! Each country had a visual display of all that makes their individual cultures unique and interesting, including fun facts, history and weather information. Many of the students also wore traditional costumes for the day. Delicious food, prepared and cooked by the students and their families, further reflected the intercultural theme.

An afternoon of international music and dance attended by the whole school, brought the celebrations to an end. The afternoon’s acts featured members of the Rusangano Family as part of Music Generation Limerick, student singing group ‘Sister Act’ from Nigeria and rapper Victor Hogan Poole to name a few. There was also some Irish dancing and African drumming.

Being close to St. Patrick’s Day, the event was seen as an appropriate time to hold Thomond Community College Multicultural Day 2018 and give a well-deserved forum to the citizens of the new Ireland, and a real opportunity to share heritage. This is a unique event across the schools of the Limerick-Clare E.T.B., and indeed further afield, attracting praise from Limerick migrant rights organisation Doras Luimni over the years. This initiative was running for almost 10 years in Salesian Secondary School and was called Salesians Multicultural Day – Integration through Education. Following amalgamation and the establishment of Thomond Community College in September 2016, there was no hesitation in continuing with an event of such enormous popularity and previous success.

Students from local national schools also attended on the day, as did the Mayor of Limerick and RTE filmed at the event earlier in the day. At a time when it was never more important to demonstrate leadership in integration it really is a worthwhile initiative.

 

To read about last years Multicultural Day at Thomond Community College click here.

To read more about Multicultural events in Limerick click here.

To visit the school website go here

Pictured at Limerick Person of the Year awards, Luke Culhane, Limerick Person of the Year 2016, Richard who won Limerick Person of the Year in 2011, Sister Helen Culhane, Limerick Person of the Year 2017 and Celia Holman Lee who was a Lifetime Achievement Winner in 2014. Picture: Cian Reinhardt/ilovelimerick

Children’s Grief Centre founder Sr Helen Culhane named Limerick Person of the Year 2017

The founder of a local support service which has helped more than a 1,000 children affected by loss through death, separation or divorce, has been named Limerick Person of the Year 2017.

Sr Helen Culhane, Limerick Person of the Year 2017 received the top honour for her dedication and commitment to providing grieving children and young people with a place and space where they are given the opportunity to examine feelings associated with loss, and learn that they are not alone.

Sr Helen Culhane, Limerick Person of the Year 2017 founded the Children’s Grief Centre in 2009 which sees around 30 children a week, aged four to 18 years. Seventy percent of the children who attend have separated parents while 30 per cent have suffered a bereavement.

In total, there are approximately 30 volunteers attached to the centre. The volunteers include a retired career guidance teacher, a play therapist, psychologist, psychotherapist, and an art therapist.

Her work had seen her selected as the January 2017 Limerick Person of the Month and her work stood out among the judging panel.

Accepting her award Sr Helen Culhane, Limerick Person of the Year 2017, said: “I’m shocked to be quite honest and very humbled to receive this award.  Thanks to everyone of you and to all those who organised the event today.”

“The work that I’m involved with, we see it as very important work as we are supporting children who are impacted by loss due to bereavement, separation, and divorce, and if by winning this award it draws attention to that [work], it will be a goal achieved.”

Limerick Person of the Year 2017

Sr Helen Culhane, Limerick person of the year with Michael Noonan TD, recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award. Picture: Cian Reinhardt/ilovelimerick

At the gala event at the Clayton Hotel in Limerick, former Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan TD was also honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Now in its 17th year and sponsored by The Limerick Leader, Southern Marketing Design & Media and the Clayton Hotel, the Limerick Person of the Year Award was set up to honour the achievements and success of local people.

Eugene Phelan, Editor of the Limerick Leader said: “There is fantastic diversity among the 12 monthly award winners from Diana Mirza, a world chess champion to Joy Neville, voted the number one rugby referee in the world.”

“All strands of life are covered from the local garda who put his life on the line to save others, to a young entrepreneur, whose invention may improve efficiency in hospitals all around the world, to a young solicitor based in Dublin, who is flying the flag for Limerick through the Capital Limerick project.”

“These are just ordinary people doing extraordinary things and who have during 2017 made Limerick a much better place.”

Limerick Person of the Year 2017

All the Limerick Person of the Year nominees pictured with Mayor Stephen Keary, Micheal Noonan TD and the organisers of the event after the announcement of Sr. Helen Culhanes win. Picture: Cian Reinhardt/ilovelimerick

Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Cllr Stephen Keary said: “Congratulations to Sr Helen Culhane and Michael Noonan on receiving their awards today.  Through your work, although in different spheres, you have always shown a commitment to help Limerick, in your own particular way, and we are all reaping the benefits. I would also like to congratulate all the other monthly recipients for their hard work and dedication in promoting Limerick.”

Former Minister Michael Noonan has been honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his work down through the years as a government minister and a public representative for the area.

Speaking after he received the Lifetime Achievement Award Deputy Michael Noonan said: “I’m emotional after all those beautiful tributes paid by everybody. This is a great honour, I would like to thank all the sponsors in conferring this honour on me today. You can get honoured in many parts of the world on occasions but to be honoured in one’s home city is very important.”

“It would be fairer if this was a group award because a lot of the achievements in Limerick over the last seven years are the work of many people.  What I was good at was identifying ideas that might work and implementing them.”

Pat Reddan, General Manager, Clayton Limerick Hotel said: “We are delighted to sponsor such an event that showcases the very best of Limerick and the people who call it home, they truly are all inspirational.”

Congratulating all nominees, Dave O’Hora of Southern Marketing Design & Media said: “Each of the nominees have in their own way made an outstanding contribution to the cultural, sporting, business and community scene in Limerick, today Limerick celebrates and it should.”

The ceremony also included a tribute to the late Dolores O’Riordan by Lorcan Murray followed by a breathtaking performance of The Cranberries’ ‘When You’re Gone’ by Singer Emma Langford.

Past winners of the title include ilovelimerick’s Richard Lynch, philanthropist JP McManus, world champion boxer Andy Lee, rugby stars Paul O’Connell and Tony Ward, and anti-bullying campaigner Luke Culhane.

This year’s Limerick Person of the Year judging panel consisted of Eugene Phelan, Editor of the Limerick Leader, Conn Murray, Chief Executive of Limerick City and County Council and Cllr. Stephen Keary, Mayor of the City and County of Limerick.

For more information on the Children’s Grief Centre, go here.

For more stories on Limerick Person of the Year, go here.

Ciara Micks is raising funds for life-saving treatment in Barcelona. Picture: Cian Reinhardt/ilovelimerick

Ciara Micks is raising funds for life-saving treatment in Barcelona. Picture: Cian Reinhardt/ilovelimerick

MOST RECENT UPDATE: Ciara Micks and her Mum Anne are finally able to return home to Limerick after 6 weeks in Barcelona for her life-saving Neurosurgery. Ciara was operated at her skull, neck, ribs and lumbar spine. They won’t know how successful the operation has been for at least another few months, but early signs are positive. She still has a long road of recovery ahead of her, up to a year and won’t be able to lift anything larger than 2kg for 3 months. “We are delighted to be finally coming home. We had a fantastic surgical team in Barcelona who looked after Ciara with great care. But you need your family and friends around you for additional support”, said Anne.

Ciara with her doctors in Barcelona, Dr. Gilete and Dr. Oliver when they were saying goodbye.

UPDATE: Ciara’s surgery is now booked for Thursday, March 8. Ciara and her mother, Anne will travel to Barcelona in two weeks and the hospital must be paid a week prior to Ciara’s surgery. The intention had been for Ciara to attend as an outpatient for pre-op tests which is normal procedure. However, due to her complex history and bleeding disorder, the surgical team have decided that Ciara should be admitted to hospital as soon she arrives in Spain. Unfortunately, this will also increase costs. Ciara and Anne are incredibly grateful for the response they have received as every euro counts and are confident that they will get there with the support of their community.

Fundraising efforts for Ciara’s surgery continue to go ahead. Tesco in Roxboro has dedicated one of their community pots to Ciara.  There are also collection points at Widdess Pharmacy, Bella Italia, Irwin Jewellers, La Cucina and Snack Shack in Ennis. If you would like to donate to Ciara’s EDS surgery fund, you can visit www.gofundme.com/ciaraeds.

Support 16-year-old Limerick girl Ciara Micks Fight for Life

by Cian Reinhardt

Sixteen-year-old Ciara Micks hopes to raise more than €100,000 for a surgery in Barcelona that could save her life.

Rheumatologist Brian Mulcahy in Cork diagnosed Ciara with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS) in 2015, but since being diagnosed her condition has deteriorated dramatically. Due to a lack of expertise in Ireland, Ciara and her mother Anne were forced to travel to London, as are most EDS patients.

EDS is a condition affecting the connective tissues in the body, which provide support in the skin, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, internal organs, and bones.

Although more than 600 people nationally, with approximately 40 in Limerick, have been diagnosed with EDS, it is still under-researched in the country, and both Anne and Ciara believe many people go undiagnosed because of the lack of knowledge.

Richard Lynch with Anne and Ciara Micks. Picture: Cian Reinhardt/ilovelimerick

Anne Micks is also the Chairperson of Irish EDS and Hypermobility Spectrum Disorders (HSD) in Ireland and says, “we have more than 500 adults and more than 120 kids in the Irish EDS and HSD group, and that is only our group. In 2014 it was estimated there were nearly 2000 people in Ireland who have the condition.”

When Ciara found out she had to travel to Barcelona for the surgery she said, “I just thought it was ridiculous. There is no reason apart from the lack of knowledge why we need to go there.

“It’s a choice to learn about it, and with so many people with EDS in Ireland it isn’t comprehensible that people who can help don’t have an interest in it.”

As there is no treatment available to EDS patients in Ireland, many people like Ciara are forced to travel to the UK for checkups, as well as specialist advice and treatment.

Raising funds for a life-saving surgical procedure, Ciara hopes to make the trip to Barcelona, Spain which is the only European city to carry our the cervical fusion surgery Ciara needs. This operation would need to happen this March 2018 so she needs to raise the funds before then.

“In Ireland, they can do cervical fusion procedures, but not on an EDS patient, never mind somebody with as many complications as I have – blood pressure problems, heart problems, and my blood does not clot.

“You have to take into consideration the EDS and being resistant to the anesthesia, so they have to do a lot to make it work.”

After the surgery, aged just 16, Ciara will never be able to move her neck again, or move her head up, down, left or right.

Ciara said, “When I found out about the surgery I thought I’d be more scared than I was. But I sort of knew that it was coming, it’s hard to explain it, but it was happening in my own body, so I felt it was coming. My mum broke down, and I just said, okay let’s do this. I was ready to make a change for the better.”

Time is of the essence for Ciara now as the next available procedure is in March, leaving her with just over one month to raise more than €70,000 by the time of writing this article.

“We have a lot of people helping so far, so it’s very enlightening to see so many people actually care and try to help. There are people in Glasgow and Lanzarote helping us raise funds,” said Ciara, with her mum adding, “We are very fortunate.”

If Ciara misses the surgery in March, Anne says, “Ciara can’t be in Spain when we go into the hot weather when she is recuperating as one her comorbidities is she can’t cope with extreme heat, she passes out.”

If the surgery is moved back to November, Anne says, “that takes away another year of her life. And she has had enough years gone already.”

“If anybody would like to help raise funds by doing their own event in Ciara’s honour, please get in contact as we would be very grateful,” Anne concluded.

If you would like to donate to Ciara’s EDS surgery fund, you can visit www.gofundme.com/ciaraeds or contact Anne at [email protected]

See their Facebook page CiarasFight for more info.

For more stories on fundraising in Limerick click here