It was in some way poignantly appropriate that a butterfly, that most gentle and vulnerable of creatures, found its way into the function room at the Clanree Hotel in Letterkenny just as the launch of a fund-raising weekend to commemorate a young Donegal baby who passed away at the age of eighteen days in Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin, had got underway.
Suffering from the rarest of conditions, Megan, daughter of Johnny Moore and Gillian Devenney from Newtowncunningham, fought the bravest of battles before succumbing on October 14th last.
Like the butterfly, she’d flitted briefly into the lives of her parents and their families who watched her attempt to pull through in the caring surrounds of the Dublin hospital.
She had been diagnosed with a condition, Chromosome Ring 18, of which there have only been 70 reported cases in the world.
In recent weeks, Gillian and Johnny have told their saddest of stories but have done so with a view to highlight not just the illness that affected so devastatingly the youngest of hearts but also to initiative a campaign to raise much needed funding for a hospital that continues to care for the sick children of the country.
In memory of Megan - as the chairman of Tuesday’s launch, Jim Devenney, pointed out, the couple and the families will always hold such a memory - and to raise vital proceeds for the Crumlin facility, a special weekend of activities has been lined up to take place on 9th and 10th June next.
Community Fund-raising Manager with Our Lady’s Hospital, Catriona McGloin revealed at the launch that they had engaged on a 8 million euro drive to raise money for a new cardiac unit and the upgrading of additional facilities.
“The people of Donegal have contributed so generously in the past. Unfortunately we need to ask for some more but this is very urgent,” she told the attendance.
On average 130,000 children are treated in the hospital every year which boasts 225 beds.
Also among the gathering at the launch were Danny O’Carroll and his wife, Amanda (Woods), who feature in the popular television comedy series ‘Mrs. Brown’s Boys’.
“If there’s anything we can do to help the cause we will. We were delighted to be here for the launch,” said Amanda who is a native of Manorcunningham.
Gillian’s father, Jim, announced details of the weekend of fund-raising activities which includes a special motorbike run from Donegal to the Antrim coast, involving some 200 machines and riders, and a Sunday event being dubbed ‘Megan’s Day’ which will be hosted in the Clanree Hotel.