Keith Duffy steps down as patron of Irish Autism Action 'with a heavy heart' after ten years
Boyzone star Keith Duffy has announced his decision to step down as patron of the charity, due to family and work commitments.
The father-of-two has been actively fundraising and building awareness of autism for over a decade, helping to raise over €8 million for the charity.
Duffy, whose daughter Mia has autism, confirmed his shock resignation this evening.
In a statement posted on Twitter, Duffy said: “It's with a very heavy heart that I resign as patron to the IAA.”
It's with a very heavy heart that I resign as patron to the IAA, I will always be passionate in helping children and their families with ASD— KEITH DUFFY(ff)RCSI (@officialkeith) February 11, 2015
“I will always be passionate in helping children and their families with ASD,” he added.
Kevin Whelan, CEO of Irish Autism Action, said it was impossible to sum up the extent of Keith’s work.
“There has been a considerable amount of advantages to having Keith on board. Without his stellar campaigning for IAA, we would not be in the place we are today,” he said.
Keith’s role has helped the charity land corporate sponsorship with the likes of O2, Mace, DHL and Dublin Airport Authority. His own personal fundraising initiatives such as KD golf day, the annual KD Masquerade Ball, and the Keith Duffy 5k race have also generated hundreds of thousands of euro.
Keith’s daughter Mia (14) was diagnosed with autism when she was 18 months old. Keith and his wife Lisa also have an 18-year-old son Jay, an aspiring actor, who is currently studying for his Leaving Certificate exams.
In November 2014, the Dublin star was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland's Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery in recognition of his work as a campaigner for children with autism.
Read more: Keith Duffy honoured for autism charity work
Keith (40) was instrumental in recently securing over 3,000 iPads for children with autism by encouraging the recycling of nearly half a million phones.
His public support for 12 early intervention schools in Ireland helped secure state recognition for the schools.
He also launched a partnership between Early Childhood Ireland and IAA to help create autism friendly pre-school settings.
Despite stepping down, Keith has promised he will see through a number of events that he has set up for 2015, including National Pyjama Day on 6th March which is set to raise significant funds for IAA over the next three years.