Ballroom dancing for Limerick paediatric diabetes unit

Donal O'Regan


Donal O'Regan


Ballroom dancing for Limerick paediatric diabetes unit

Dierdre Culhane, Clarina and Patrick Browne, Bruree strutting their stuff | Photograph: Keith Wiseman

THERE was no need to sit in front of the TV on Saturday to watch Strictly Come Dancing as Mary Rockett brought a waltzing, tango and foxtrot feel to Caherconlish.

Lovers of ballroom dancing could see for themselves in the Millennium Centre the array of toe-tapping skills involved.

Mary organised the competition with a fellow enthusiast, Pat Ryan to raise money for the paediatric diabetes unit in University Hospital Limerick and for Tipperary Hospice.

Over 50 entrants donned their finery and strutted their stuff to a crowd of around 200. Everybody who enjoyed the night has Mary and her nine-year-old granddaughter Sadhbh Barrett to thank.

“The reason I organised the ballroom dancing competition is because of the exceptional care given by the paediatric diabetes unit to my daughter and granddaughter,” said Mary, from Oakview Drive, Ballinacurra.

When Sadhbh was six she was diagnosed with type one diabetes.

“Type one is completely different from type two diabetes. Type 1 is the one you are insulin dependent for the rest of your life,” said Mary.

She said the staff in the unit were at the end of the phone whenever Mary’s daughter Kate and her husband Peter needed advice.

“At the beginning it was so daunting but they were at the end of the phone every time. I cannot but praise them. They gave them weeks of training on the insulin pump, keeping charts, blood counts. It was just exceptional care - over and beyond the call of duty,” said Mary.

When Sadhbh was diagnosed first she was on four injections a day but now she has progressed to an insulin pump.

“She is doing quite well. The insulin pump has to be progammed every time before she puts a morsel of food in to her mouth,” she adds.

When Mary decided to hold a fundraiser she was always going to turn to her favourite hobby.

“I am very involved in ballroom dancing. I have been for years. I absolutely love it.

“It is a brilliant social outlet. It is the most brilliant couple sport ever,” said Mary.

The monies will be divided between the diabetes paediatric unit in UHL and and Tipperary Hospice, which is close to fellow organiser Pat Ryan’s heart.

It is hoped over €1,500 will be going from the dancefloor to the hospital and hospice floors.  

“We had a huge crowd. It was a brilliant night. The Millennium Centre and staff are brilliant,” said Mary, who thanked everyone who supported the fundraiser.