independent

Thursday 21 August 2014

Tragic Rory's legacy is now saving lives

BANTEER DRIVE ADDS €23,000 FOR BUILD4LIFE AT CUH

JOHN TARRANT

Published 03/01/2013 | 09:28

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OVERWHELMED by the extraordinary generosity and spirit of the public from across the south west region and further afield, a Banteer family has donated €23,020, proceeds of a table quiz, towards a cystic fibrosis project at Cork University Hospital.

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The staging remembered young sportsman Rory O'Connor, whose life was cut short in the prime of his young years almost two years ago. Fittingly, on Rory's 21st birthday, upwards of 500 people convened at Banteer Community Centre to display terrific generosity that helped collect a whopping €10k for the cause.

Add a further €13,000+, donated by community groups and business outlets, the fund passed the €23k mark that will enhance the Cystic Fibrosis Build4Life project.

At a formal presentation hosted in the Glen Theatre, members of the O'Connor family presented a cheque to Joe Browne, chairman of Build4Life. Joe initiated the charity in 2007 to raise funds and create an awareness for the needs of people suffering for cystic fibrosis at CUH.

The novel table quiz attracted a massive 112 teams from all over the south west region.

Rory's untimely death occasioned deep sadness. Indeed, the GAA world across North West Cork were left reeling in early 2011 by the devastating loss of the promising Lyre, Duhallow, Tralee IT and county u21 panelist.

However, the quiz night came up trumps and the support for the cause was acknowledged by Rory's mom, Bernie.

"We're so overwhelmed by the response by clubs and groups, and Rory's college Tralee IT were also represented," said Bernie.

"People came out to enjoy themselves and support Build4Life that aims to build a dedicated children's unit in CUH that will serve the Munster region.

"The figure is beyond our wildest dreams - Rory's spirit was very evident on the night", she added.

Build4life's Joe Browne accepted the impressive sum and hailed the support of the Banteer organisers and consistent support from communities since 2007.

"I wanted to raise €1million and within 12 months we had achieved our aim," said Joe. "That amount is now risen to €3.4m.

"Last year we opened a new adult and the world's most sophisticated CF unit at CUH. That's thanks to the generosity from people such as Bernie and Pat O'Connor, and friends towards supporting the project given the current economic climate."

Looking ahead to 2013, Build4life is undertaking another massive €2.3m development, converting ward 5b at CUH. "This will be a refurbishment of an inpatient facility for adult CF with 20 beds and ten isolation rooms. Ward 5b will also be the primary centre for chronic respiratory patients in Munster," said Joe.

"Such is the support from the people of Banteer and other areas it allows us to enhance life saving facilities for people", he added.

Joe expressed delight too on being one of the chosen charities from the 2012 Ring of Kerry cycle fund raiser that draws significant numbers from County Cork.

Meanwhile, work on the children's centre at CUH will begin in mid 2013.

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