Boxing scales Carrantuohill peak to aid brothers with rare disease

A FUND-RAISING campaign for children affected by the extremely rare Battens Disease reached new heights over the weekend.

A number of boxing matches were held on Carrantuohill, in Co Kerry, on Saturday with the full-sized ring flown up the mountainside by helicopter.

However, plans to stage the event on the summit of Ireland’s highest mountain had to be abandoned because of weather conditions and the ring was set up just below cloud level.

Titled Boxing for Battens – the Fight for Life – the event was described as a ‘massive success’ by Tony Heffernan, father of two children who suffer from the usually fatal disease.

The condition attacks the central nervous system and causes violent seizures.

Boxing for Battens was part of an ongoing campaign to raise funds to help Saoirse, five years, and Liam Heffernan, two years, from Castlemaine, Co Kerry, who need immediate surgery.

The plan is that the children will travel to the US for experimental procedures in an attempt to extend their lives.

The boxers, including Willie ‘Big Bang’ Casey and Ireland’s first female professional Christina McMahon, climbed up the mountain and took part in five bouts.

Mr Casey defeated Philip Sutcliffe in an exhibition match, while Ms McMahon took on Richard Balfe.

Father-of-four Willie Casey said he was delighted to help the campaign.

“All I do is fight to make a comfortable living. Tony and his two kids are fighting to save their lives. I would urge everyone to help these incredibly strong people out,” he added.

There are less than 1,000 people in the world suffering from Battens, with only four children in Ireland having the disease. Battens is usually diagnosed around the age of two years and the general life expectancy is just 10 years.

Boxing for Battens was organised by Dolphil Promotions in association with Betpack.com, whose spokesperson, Terry Rogers, said there was no better cause and urged people to support the charity.

Tony Heffernan thanked everybody involved in making the event a success.

Donations can be made on www.beeforbattens.org or email support@beeforbattens.org. You can also lodge a donation at the following bank details. Sort Code 951680 Account no 90029084.

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