independent

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Bray turns pink for Merryn

Mary Fogarty

Published 26/02/2014 | 05:22

Merryn's aunty Anne-Noelle and sister Cora doling out the teas and cakes with Saoirse Brady during the coffee morning at Wolfetone Youth Club.

The forces of good will battle evil at Ballywaltrim Community Centre this month when 'Team Merryn' and 'Team Torture' collide at a 'pink collar' boxing event.

The forces of good will battle evil at Ballywaltrim Community Centre this month when 'Team Merryn' and 'Team Torture' collide at a 'pink collar' boxing event.

Organised by the members of Ballywaltrim Youth Project, the fundraising boxing extravaganza is being held in aid of Merryn Lacy.

Her favourite colour is, of course, pink, hence the title of the night of entertainment on Sunday March 9. Merryn (4) has stage four neurublastoma cancer and her family needs at least €100,000 for her treatment.

The boxing night is just one of a huge number of community fundraising events held to support the cause with the people of Bray truly uniting to help the sick little girl.

Two coffee mornings were held last weekend, one organised by Ballywaltrim Youth Project and another by Merryn's aunt Anne at Wolfe Tone Community Centre.

Meanwhile, the girl herself got to meet some sporting giants last week when the Irish rugby team welcomed her to their training session in Maynooth.

Merryn's dad Mick, a native of Bray's Mountainview Drive, said it was a wonderful day and she was overjoyed to meet the players and manager Mick Kearney.

Katie Taylor remains Merryn's number one idol but the likes of Rob Kearney, Devin Toner and Chris Henry are certainly coming close, according to her dad.

The Lacy family – including mum Jude and Merryn's sister Cora (3) were invited to the training camp by Ireland skills coach Richie Murphy.

'All of the players were absolutely great and they all came over to say hello. Paul O'Connell, Ian Madigan and Rob Kearney were all fantastic and showed a genuine interest in Merryn. She was in awe of Devin Toner when she met him as he's so tall. She looked up and must have thought he went on and on,' said Mick.

'Chris Henry was really great, too, and stopped for a good while to talk to us. He was great with Merryn. It means a lot to us that the lads took the time out to stop, chat and pose for pictures.'

She was luckily well enough to accept the invitation as it was during a break between chemotherapy sessions.

While children can attend the boxing event in Bray as it starts at 5.30 p.m. and costs just €5, Merryn may or may not be able to go depending on how she is doing.

Fighters Jamie 'The Cereal Killer' Fitzpatrick (17), Jay 'The Best in Bray' Brierton (18), Kyle 'The Ironman' Byrne (17), and 'Iron' Mike Fleming (16) are among those who have been training hard for weeks.

There will be young people, leaders, members of the boxing club, and even seasoned wresters stepping in to the ring on the night.

Friendship and camaraderie have been left aside, with some serious fighting talk between the competitors.

'He needs to be brought down a peg or two,' said Jay 'The Best in Bray' Brierton about his opponent and youth worker 'The Lord of the Manor' Paul Treacy.

'We've done some fitness training and learned some basic boxing moves,' said Jay, who is a member of the band 'Casual Minds.'

The bouts will come with twists - including a blindfolded match, fighting with one arm tied behind the back, and 'boy vs girl.'

The members have organised the event themselves from start to finish, tackling everything from marketing to seeking sponsorship and all of the administration of running an event as well as training for their fights.

They wanted to support Merryn and the Lacy family and have chosen them as their cause for the coming year.

Last year they supported Crumlin hospital so Merryn was a natural progression for them as she is a local girl and is linked to the hospital.

'We will be asking local businesses to sponsor a fight in the coming week,' said youth worker Adam Burke. Adam will also be fighting on the night as his wrestling altar-ego 'Adam Abz.'

'We really hope everyone will come and get on board,' said the young organisers.

Mick Lacy explained that any money raised for their fund which does not go towards Merryn's treatment and care will go towards research on children's cancers.

Bray People

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