A LOCAL couple who raised an extraordinary total of over £10,000 for the Children's Heartbeat Trust have paid tribute to the local community for supporting their fundraiser.
Mickey Donnelly, with the support of his wife, Donna - who owns Hair Flair in Beragh, completed a 10k a day challenge through the month of February, raising £10,050 for the cause.
The couple chose this charity as it is now eight years since their son Micheál underwent surgery in Clark Clinic on his heart. Thankfully, it was a very successful one and he is fortunate enough to have grown up playing all the sports he loves and doing all the things he wants to do.
His mum, Donna, said a huge part of this is down to the network of support he has in the form of his family, friends, clubs, school and local community.
"Another major form of support that he receives is from the Children’s Heartbeat Trust who constantly provide a range of fun activities and trips away on a regular basis," said Donna.
"Huge credit must go to Kathryn Doherty who is a major driving force in our local area and Micheál, like all the other children love availing of this wonderful service for children and families of children who have heart conditions."
Like every organisation, funding is required to ensure they are able to offer these services for these children - and the family felt "it was time to give a little back".
Monday, March 15, marked the end date for donations to the 10k a day challenge for Children’s Heartbeat Trust.
Donna said: "Their bodies are well recovered now and we’re definitely in the midst of the calm after the storm.
"We faced every day knowing that those aches and pains would gradually go away and this was certainly the case. We also faced every day knowing that the help, support, kindness, generosity and love that you all showed us would last forever and this was also the case.
"The money you have donated to this fabulous cause will go a long way in helping thousands of children and their families deal with the stresses and anxieties of living with congenital heart disease (CHD).
"Some of the stories that we’ve exchanged during our days out, trips away or even during some of the 10k runs in February, have been so heart-warming.
"There are so many people affected by heart defects from an early age and Children’s Heartbeat Trust is an organisation that is there for you through every step of the way.
"This money that we’re so proudly going to donate on behalf of all of you will make a real difference to many families; and as a result of this, we’d like to offer sincere thanks to so many people.
"To all of you who donated via my Facebook page, through Paypal or Revolut, through cash drop-offs or by handing over money in the shops or on the street - thank you! To our families, friends and neighbours who were always there for us when we needed anything. To all of you who so willingly joined us for a run/walk or dedicated your run/walk to the challenge - well done, you were amazing! To every single person who has messaged or greeted us with words of support and well wishes. To all of you who shared or commented on our posts to help spread the word of our undertaking.
"And finally, to the Children’s Heartbeat Trust who were very forthcoming with emails and phone calls to lend a hand in whatever way they could."
Donna continued: "The one thing that I have to admit is that when Mickey puts his mind to something, he makes things happen!
This was an idea that was concocted at the breakfast table one morning and before we knew it, we were entering into a seemingly impossible challenge in a couple of days' time. Sometimes that’s how the best ideas come about and although it was difficult at times, we managed to clock up over 500km between us over the course of the 28 days this is something that we’re incredibly proud of.
"But not half as proud as we are to announce the final total that you have donated to the Children’s Heartbeat Trust in support of our challenge. Between January 29 and March 15 you wonderful people have managed to raise a life-changing total.
"What a breathtaking sum of money that we will be presenting in a few weeks' time. Never, in even our wildest dreams, did we think this would explode in the manner in which it has.
"What you have done is nothing short of sensational and we’d like to thank you all from the bottom of our hearts. We are so appreciative of your efforts to support this cause and it has taught us a lot about the kind of people we have in our local communities.
"You have all pulled together to be part of something special and we’ll be eternally grateful for how you’ve helped and supported us. Micheál and thousands of other children who are associated with the Children’s Heartbeat Trust will be rewarded for your kindness. Even as we struggle through a global pandemic, people are still finding ways to help others and this is the most pleasing element of it all."