AN URGENT appeal for donations has been issued by a charity who say families are having to choose between putting petrol in the car to bring their child to hospital and putting food in the presses to feed the rest of the family.
Since opening its doors in 2007 Cliona’s Foundation has never turned away a family in need. However, unless the foundation can raise €22,000 it will be forced to let down families for the first time ever.
“We have been inundated with applications,” said Allison McNamara, marketing and fundraising manager, Cliona’s Foundation.
“We had a family recently and they said that they had reached a point where they didn’t know how they were going to pay for their electricity and heating and they were up to three months already on their bills.
“We had a mum and she said that there are weeks she has to choose between putting petrol in the car to bring the child to hospital and putting food in the presses to feed the rest of the family. She said there are weeks where she has to cancel the hospital appointment which she shouldn’t be doing because her child needs treatment, but she has to be able to feed her family.”
Cliona’s Foundation provides financial assistance to families from across the country who have children undergoing long-term medical treatment for critical illness. Requests for assistance vary from week to week.
“Some weeks we have received 10 requests and other weeks we have received two. This week alone we have received four. Already, since the start of the year, we have helped 35 to 40 families. When you consider that last year we helped 53 families in total, it shows the need.”
According to Ms McNamara, the charity could probably fund all the applications by the end of the year “but these applications are usually of a very urgent nature.”
“We figured we really needed to do an appeal because we have 15 families at the moment on a waiting list.”
Cliona’s Foundation gives each family a once-off payment of approximately €1,500.
Terry Ring from Lough Gur who founded Cliona’s Foundation with her husband Brendan in honour of their daughter Cliona who died from an inoperable brain tumour, appealed to the public to dig deep. “We’ve always taken pride in never turning a needy family away, and we really want to keep it that way. Unless you’ve been in the position of having a really sick child in your family, you don’t know how quickly expenses can mount up. We want to support families who are already going through the horrific experience of dealing with a very ill child. They shouldn’t have to face money worries on top of that.”
To donate to the Cliona’s Foundation emergency appeal visit www.clionasfoundation.ie, send a donation to Cliona’s Foundation, Roselawn House, University Business Complex, National Technological Park, Limerick, call 1800-901090 or text CLIONA to 50300. You can also visit the Facebook page and share the post with family and friends.