IT was a star-studded two days of world class golf and celebrity spotting but behind the razzmatazz of the JP McManus Invitational Pro-Am 2010 in Adare are thousands of unknown faces who have seen their lives changed for the better thanks to the event.
The golfing extravaganza which was hosted on July 5 and 6 of last year raised €41.2m for local charities – the full list of which has just been released.
This week, Limerick Leader reporters spoke to some of the beneficiaries, to find out how the money is being used on the ground. They hear stories of hope, stories of inspiration, stories of survival.
Twelve-year-old Katie Devlin is a pupil of St Gabriel’s School and Centre in Dooradoyle. Katie was born with a rare neuro developmental disorder – Rett Syndrome which means she is multiply and profoundly disabled.
The syndrome affects one in ten thousand female births. There is no reason why Katie was affected, the condition is usually spontaneous and rarely inherited, as her dad Terry explained “it was just one of them things”.
Katie who is from Meelick can’t walk or speak, she has poor hand control and she has a learning disability. She also has issues with her general health and her development. However, twice a week Katie gets to do things she cannot normally do, thanks, in part, to funds received by St Gabriel’s from the JP McManus Pro-Am.
Each week Katie takes to the water of St Gabriel’s hydrotherapy pool where she splashes about, floats and even stands up – something she cannot do unassisted on dry land. “Because the water is pushing against her knees, she can feel her knees and therefore she can control them. It is a huge benefit for her,” her dad Terry explained.
In Glenstal meanwhile, a €200,000 donation from the Pro-Am is to go towards the development of “Godpods” - a space where people can go to take time out from the hustle and bustle of modern life.
The Abbot of Glenstal, Mark Patrick Hederman, wrote in his proposal to the JP McManus fund that “one of the services, we as a monastery can supply to our beleaguered society, is to offer time and space for people to have ‘time-out’, to be alone without noise, over-crowding, or technological intrusion.”
He said that many people are living lives of quiet desperation full of tensions which are unavoidable. “They lack a place to go where they can recover and take stock,” wrote Br Hederman.
A donation of €350,000 to Rathfredagh Cheshire Home in Newcastle West will enable the updating of the heating system and the windows which will see the home going green to provide energy.
This will reduce running costs while also making Rathfredagh as comfortable a home as possible for the residents which include people with physical disabilities, acquired brain injuries and neurological conditions.
And in Charleville, a generous award of €1.5m from the JP McManus Pro-Am fund will enrich the lives and opportunities of children and adults with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome in the south Limerick and north Cork area.
Paying tribute to all involved in the Pro-Am, Mr McManus said that their efforts will benefit “many people’s lives”.