Three TY students, one who survived childhood cancer, have raised over €40,000 for a cancer charity close to their heart by restoring a vintage tractor which was raffled off last week.
It is to fundraise for Childhood Cancer Foundation Ireland, a charity close to their hearts.
The now 16 year olds - Andrew Jordan, Jack Beirne and Mark Rogers from Scoil Mhuire in Strokestown - combined their love of agricultural machinery with their Transition Year Enterprise Programme.
Mark said, “our best friend and team member Jack overcame cancer as a child so we decided it would be great if we could help support children and teenagers who are going through cancer and hopefully they will be busy at projects like our friend Jack when they come out the other side.”
Jack, who is now cancer free, remembers long days on the ward in Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, now CHI Crumlin.
He said, “When I was three my mother took me to our GP because I was very pale, only to discover that I had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL).”
“I spent three and a half years going up and down to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin for chemotherapy and to say that life was not what every child would wish for during those years is an understatement.”
“However, with all the love, support and help of both the medical professionals and most importantly my family, friends and community, I am one of the lucky ones. I am now cancer free and have been discharged from all medical services for the last few years.”
The trio made have used the latest public health restrictions to restore the 1956 Ferguson 20 tractor.
They stripped it down to it’s bare chassis, sandblasted every inch restoring each original part, sourced parts as well as preparing to respray it.
To raise funds for the charity, they are raffling the fully restored vintage tractor on the 8th January next.
Andrew said the idea for their enterprise project came to them as they chatted, “around our kitchen table. We all loved driving tractors this summer and we thought we could actually make money and have the craic returning a vintage tractor to its former glory.”
“We sourced the old Ferguson 20 and towed it home to the shed. We have spent every spare hour doing this for the five weeks. It has been both a labour of love and very frustrating, but we are committed and will work to the finish.”
The enterprise module encourages Transition Year students to develop their own business ideas – preparing business plans and creating products or running events with a view to making a profit.
Jack said, “I remember the long days that we would spend in the day ward in Crumlin and my parents trying to keep me busy and play with me while I waited to go down to theatre for my chemo.”
“Now, thanks to Childhood Cancer Foundation Ireland, there is a Play Specialist on St. John’s Day Ward, helping children cope with the worries of feeling unwell, being away from home in strange surroundings and being continually poked and prodded by strangers,” he added.
Scoil Mhuire Principal Eamonn Corrigan said, "it is a fantastic idea and great credit to the three students involved. With the time effort and commitment, they have given to this project I have no doubt it will be a great success. The school would like to congratulate the three lads on this wonderful project.”
Laura Cullinan, a voluntary director with Childhood Cancer Foundation Ireland and a parent of a child who has also survived childhood cancer, said, “children with cancer display incredible bravery while enduring harsh chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments.”
“It is always heart-warming to see children and young adults like Jack, who have completed their own harrowing battle with childhood cancer and who then devote time and energy to helping others who unfortunately have to follow in their footsteps.”
She said every donation will assist us to continue to fund our projects at Crumlin hospital and other shared care hospitals around Ireland.
Tickets can be got at www.facebook.com/AClassic4KidsCancer