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Friday 29 August 2014

Brave Darragh (11) beats cancer - and sets up charity for sick kids

Joyce Fegan

Published 13/02/2014 | 13:57

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Darragh Murtagh
Dympna Cawley  manager, Darragh Murtagh and Michael Capra  consultant oncologist
Dympna Cawley manager, Darragh Murtagh, and Michael Capra, consultant oncologist

Meet the 11-year-old charity CEO who's survived cancer and is deciding how children at Crumlin's Children's Hospital should benefit from the public’s charitable donations.

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Darragh Murtagh (11) was appointed CEO of Athboy Mums Fundraising and has sole responsibility for deciding where the charity’s cash donations are spent.

To date, €23,000 has been raised and Darragh decided to buy 57 Xbox, PlayStation and Wii consoles for Our Lady's Hospital Crumlin.

“I made the decision all by myself,” explained the 11-year-old cancer survivor, who says he felt “no pressure”.

The brave boy had a tumour on his knee and between bouts of chemotherapy had surgery for a knee replacement.

Alma McClorey and Briege Tuite, whose sons Liam and Jack are friends of Darragh, set up the charity last year.

 They were inspired by Kerry teenager Donal Walsh, and, after hearing about Darragh's diagnosis last Easter, they decided to make sure his hospital stay was as comfortable as possible.

The 57 consoles were delivered to the hospital in December, the same day as Darragh's last chemotherapy session.

Ms McClorey and Ms Tuite organised a host of fundraising activities in the last nine months, with sports days where footballers Joe Sheridan and Colm Cooper visited Darragh's school.

“After two events we'd raised a bit of money,” said Ms McClorey “and at that point we decided we wanted to see exactly where our money went.

“Darragh explained to us that the kids in the ward had to share an Xbox so instead of them waiting he suggested we buy more computers with the money. We knew straight away it was a fantastic idea.”

Darragh’s mum Mariea told the Herald that Darragh can't play contact sports anymore.

“He has a metal knee now so for the safety of the other children he can't play rugby anymore, so that was taken off him,” said the mum of three.

She's very proud of her “clever little man” who's getting stronger every day since finishing his treatment.

The charity’s latest fundraising event is the Athboy Operation Transformation.

Ms Tuite, who works as a nurse, did blood pressure checks for its members, who joined for €30 each and walk or run around the town three nights a week.

Irish Independent

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