Monday 20 October 2014

McDowell lays on trip of a lifetime for seriously ill children

Published 14/03/2013 | 05:00

Golfer Graeme McDowell with the O’Mahony family on board the plane in Orlando

GOLFER Graeme McDowell took time out from his busy schedule to welcome seven seriously ill children and their families to his adopted home of Orlando for a bit of Florida sunshine.

The native of Portrush, Co Antrim, greeted the group of 35 from across Ireland when they arrived at the Orlando International Airport.

They will now enjoy a week of fun in the sun courtesy of his charity, The G-Mac Foundation, and Aer Lingus.

The kind-hearted winner of the US Open and the Ryder Cup teamed up with the airline to fly the families out for the all-expenses-paid trip.

It's the first real holiday for the families, whose children have spent most of their young lives in and out of hospital after being born with congenital heart problems.

They are all in long-term care at the cardiac unit at Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin, Dublin.

The golfer said: "To fly the children and their families out here for the few days is incredible."

The trip was a dream come true for the Barrett family from Donoughmore, Co Cork.

Denis (45), his wife Eleanor (44), and their four children Michael (9), Andrew (12), Maria (10) and Suzie (6) were all on board.

Michael spent 40 minutes clinically dead two years ago after suffering two heart attacks and two strokes.

"We're so grateful to be here on this sunny day with all four of our children," Mr Barrett said.

Aer Lingus spokesman Declan Kearney said: "We were approached by Graeme and his team last year and had no hesitation in agreeing to partner with the G-Mac Foundation on providing these families with a trip of a lifetime."

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