Farm Ireland

Thursday 14 December 2017

Macra to raise funds for 'Hugh's House' charity

Outdoor space: Margaret and Ade at Hugh's House
Outdoor space: Margaret and Ade at Hugh's House

Claire McCormack

FOR the family of a chronically ill child in need of long-term treatment, the journey from a rural homeplace, such as Connemara, Co Galway, to Temple Street Children’s Hospital in Dublin’s conjested city centre, is a daunting task.

On top of the stress and exhaustion of caring for their little one, learning how to navigate rush hour traffic and locating an affordable and appropriate parking spot to make their appointment on time, parents are often left in the dark when it comes to options for overnight accomodation.

In some cases, parents are left with no alter­native but to move to Dublin while their sick child undergoes treatment at Temple Street or the Rotunda Hospital.

Two years ago, Ade Stack and Marty Curley wanted to create a ‘home from home’ for these parents, in memory of their beloved son, Hugh.

Born on Dec 13, 2012, the Curley’s, from Malahide, Co Dublin, spent 247 days nursing baby Hugh at the Rotunda until tragically, he lost his battle against a mystery illness at just eight months.

As the devastated parents faced their grief, Ade and Marty were reminded by a sense of gratitude that they lived close by and were able to “love Hugh in person every day of his life”.

“In hospital, we saw many families who for financial reasons, are not on the same journey. We believe that everyone wants to do the best for their children but some need support,” said Ade.

“Many parents are exhausted - they are sleep­ing on the floor or in a chair often for months at a time. I am a very proud Dubliner and I saw people who began to hate Dublin - the loneliness, the lack of help. They felt forgotten.

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“We felt there should just be more supports for parents whose babies had been transferred to Dublin from all over,” she said.

The couple found a suitable property near Mountjoy Square, invested their pension and savings and ‘Hugh’s House’ officially opened in May 2015.

The entirely voluntary funded operation provides accommodation 365 days a year to families of children who are long term inpatients at hospitals less than five minutes walk away.

Up to 11 families can stay at the house at any one time - some have stayed for more than a year. All the rooms have been “adopted” and decorated by families who have lost children. “It means Hugh’s House not only provides a legacy for Hugh, but for many other children who have passed on as well,” said Ade. A second house will open next door in the coming months.

Next month, Macra na Feirme’s Dublin club, Hill 16, will hold their annual fundraiser in aid of Hugh’s House and the Drumcondra based club.

“I’m a Macra Member.....Get Me Out of Here!,” loosely based on the tv show, will take place at Na Fianna GAA Clubhouse, Glasnevin, on Friday, May 19.

Spots for contestants , who will be tasked with some colourful Macra style challenges are filling up fast. Interested parties can get in touch via Hill 16 Dublin Macra’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

Attending the official launch of the fund­raiser, Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan praised Ade for their “inspirational project”.

“It’s an honour to acknowledge the work of this incredible family who are providing hope for families struggling with great difficulty.

“They are helping alleviate the huge stress and

costs involved, particularly for rural families, trying to find accomodation in Dublin while their child is seriously ill. It is phenomenal.

“It’s also regretful that as a member of Gov­ernment families are left to rely so much on charities and volunteers to help. Without people like Ade and Marty society would collapse. They need to be commended, congratualed and helped in what they do,” he said.

Lorraine Maguire, chairperson of Hill 16 Dub­lin Macra, said: “our club members are mostly from rural areas outside Dublin so at the end of the day this is a reality that could affect all of our families. It is something we are happy to support and everyone is welcome to attend on the night”.

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