Fermoy students raise over €50k for friend fighting cancer after 'phenomenal' support

Fermoy students raise over €50k for friend fighting cancer after 'phenomenal' support
Dara O'Murchu records vocals for the track. Picture and video: Larry Cummins

Students who recorded a hit single for a school friend fighting cancer have raised a phenomenal €51,000 for charity.

The Transition Year students St Colman's College in Fermoy, Co Cork, said they are stunned but delighted at the amount raised.

Teacher Claire McCarthy, who helped coordinate the fundraising drive, said everyone involved was blown away by the support shown.

"We never in our wildest dreams expected to raise this much money," she said.

"We set, as we thought, a really ambitious target of €10,000 and people were saying 'that's ambitious'.

"But as the campaign progressed and the time went on, it just grew and grew and the goodwill behind the lads, the support from local businesses, was just phenomenal."

The students recorded their own version of the 1972 Bill Withers soul classic, Lean On Me, late last year and released it before Christmas to raise money for their classmate who is undergoing treatment for cancer.

They recorded the song in their school with producer Mark Cahill and shot a video.

They also secured the backing of several high-profile sports stars and personalities including Peter O'Mahony, Rob Heffernan and Micheal O Muircheartaigh.

The single spent three weeks at number one in the iTunes Charts and peaked at 17 in the Irish charts.

The students presented the proceeds to representatives of Crumlin Children’s Hospital, Ronald McDonald House, Cork's Mercy University Hospital and Bumbleance who all support young cancer patients.

Sandra O'Sullivan, a staff member at the children's leukaemia unit at MUH said the money will help them buy two oxygen saturation machines which will be of huge benefit to the children undergoing treatment in the ward.

Picture: Conor McCabe Photography
Picture: Conor McCabe Photography

Mary Heffernan, co-founder of the Bumbleance children's' ambulance service, said they will use their slice of the donation to help fund the purchase of a 'chemo cab' which is being launched in May and to fund the ongoing operation of the Bumbleance's Cork-based ambulance.

Ms McCarthy said the project consumed their lives for the month of December.

"But it was an amazing experience and an amazing show of solidarity to our student who is currently unwell," she said.

"So not only were the students supporting him, they also felt that they were raising really good money for some fantastic charities."

The student himself, who is recovering from surgery, visited the school last Friday for a short while and Ms McCarthy said everyone is wishing him and his family the very best during this tough time.

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