Health Features

Tuesday 22 July 2014

'The love she’s shown for Molly ... words can’t describe it'

Female teacher shaves head to raise funds for 5-year-old cancer patient

Louise Kelly

Published 10/06/2014|18:31

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The father of a five-year-old girl suffering from cancer has said he has “never witnessed anything like” her teacher’s fundraising efforts in aid of treatment for her student.

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“The love she’s shown for Molly ... words can’t describe it,” Gerry McNally told 

Little Molly Mc Nally with her Dad Gerry in Balscadden School at the Head Shave Event
Little Molly Mc Nally with her Dad Gerry in Balscadden School at the Head Shave Event

At a fundraiser day at Balscadden National School in Balbriggan this afternoon, primary school teacher Darragh Mc Gonigle (42) shaved all of her hair off.

Ms McGonigle decided to make the drastic step in order to raise as much money as possible so that her student Molly can receive the treatment she needs .

“I decided to do it because I knew there would be a ‘shock’ value to a woman the wrong side of forty with long hair getting her head shaved,” she told

“It’s great that so many Dads have done it as well and we’re delighted that’s there’s a group of us. But I knew when it came to asking for money, there would be a shock value to doing it so that’s why I decided to it.”

Soon after Molly started school, she began to feel unwell. Several weeks and many tests later, the little girl was diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma, a serious childhood cancer.

Molly has received rigorous bouts of chemotherapy to reduce her tumours but the cancer has also also attacked her bone marrow and bones as well as her lymph nodes.

Ms McGonigle, who last had her hair short 22 years ago, felt a responsibility to lend as much support as she could to the minimum fundraiser target figure of €200,000.

“Our hope is that we will raise enough funds for her to receive treatment in the States when her treatment here is finished”

Mr McNally attended the fundraiser this afternoon with his daughter Molly said it was “unbelievable what everyone has done”

“The support we have is fantastic – from everyone here in Balscadden – the teachers and parents and even the children who went out with sponsorship cards,” he said.

Molly, only recently released from hospital after surgery to have a primary tumour removed, had her own words to say to her teacher.

“Thank you Ms Gonigle for shaving off your hair.”

Molly has her own Facebook page 'Molly McNally Miracle Trust' and her own webpage with further details about fundraising,

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