Golfing sensation Rory McIlroy’s foundation has pledged €1.2 million towards the development of specialist support services for children with childhood cancer here, including the construction of a €13.5 million complex in Co Mayo, writes Stephen Rogers
Cancer Fund for Children, a charity which has operated in the north since 1973, will today announced details of the services it intends to provide to the children and their families in the south.
It said it has made the move after receiving feedback from families from the Republic who use its existing therapeutic short-break service, Daisy Lodge, in Co Down, as well as from health care professionals at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Dublin who refer them to it.
“They tell us that despite their best effort to provide the extent of psycho-social support needed by families and the support offered by smaller localised charities, aside from this and essential medical care, support for families facing a diagnosis of childhood cancer in Ireland is scarce and fragmented,” the charity said.
It added that its services will mean children, young people and their families will receive practical and emotional help at home and in the community, including the offer of a free therapeutic short break in the €13.5 million facility it is planning to build in Cong, Co Mayo.
The charity’s chairman Eddie Byrne said its long term goal is to ensure that no family in Ireland should face a cancer diagnosis alone.
“Our research tells us that aside from essential medical care, families in Ireland could positively benefit from the holistic support that Cancer Fund for Children currently offer to families affected by cancer in Northern Ireland,” he said.
“The new therapeutic short break centre in Co Mayo will be an exciting first step in a strategic longer term plan that aims to ensure that families from across Ireland have access to the support they need to cope with the impact cancer has on their lives.”
Rory McIlroy said: “Having seen Daisy Lodge in Newcastle, County Down being developed from its foundations to what it is today is amazing. I’ve been back a couple of times since it opened and the facilities are exceptional.
"I have no doubt it will be the same in County Mayo. I am honoured to be able to support a second project.”