THE story of a now healthy and strong little girl who spent the first year of her life in Our Lady's Hospital for sick children in Crumlin was the catalyst for a hugely successful fundraiser which was held in Cullen Community Centre last Friday night.
Little Emma Byrne, who started school in Cullen this year, was just eight days old when she was admitted to the hospital. Her mother, Mary, told the Corkman how the trauma and terror the whole family experienced as a result of Emma's illness was greatly alleviated by the expert medical care and outstanding support from staff at the hospital.
Mary was having a cup of coffee a few months ago with her friend Patsy O'Leary, a style coach and hairdresser based in Cullen, when she suggested they might try to organise an event which would 'give something back' to the hospital.
Initially Patsy thought of running something at her salon but as interest grew the size of the event snowballed, and eventually only the large hall at the community centre could accommodate it.
"I was amazed at the amount of local people who have connections with Our Lady's due to the fact that a child in their own family, or a friend's child, depends upon the hospital, so the support was out there," Patsy said. "We decided to go all out - initially we were aiming for around €2,000 but due to the fantastic support we have already raised in excess of €7,000 and the money is still coming in."
Cullen Community Centre was transformed into a chic fashion house by an army of volunteer helpers.
The event got underway with a cheese and wine reception and live music courtesy of Lilliana Inch. Twelve gorgeous guys in tuxes mingled among the audience of 250, keeping wine glasses replenished, while style coach Caroline Ryan gave out loads of fashion tips, including how to make sure you never again have to ask the dreaded question; 'does my bum look big in this?'.
Following a fantastic night, Patsy extended her deep gratitude to all who helped organise and run the event, and to everybody who supported it so generously.