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Wednesday 12 December 2018

'I love seeing the smiles on their faces' - how this grieving mum is helping struggling families

Kirsty Cyane-McGill, founder of 'The Keepsake Box'
Kirsty Cyane-McGill, founder of 'The Keepsake Box'

Amy Molloy and Barry Coyle

A Dublin mother providing free communion outfits to struggling families is now set to expand on her idea by offering free debs dresses this summer.

Kirsty-Cyane McGill (32), founder of 'The Keepsake Box', can't believe how a Facebook status giving away her daughter's communion dress has catapulted into what feels like a full-time job.

In an interview at her Dun Laoghaire home, Kirsty showed us some of the fabulous dresses - including designer brands such as Ted Baker and John Rocha - which have been donated by kind-hearted people across the country.

She spoke to three months ago when 'The Keepsake Box' had just taken off and since then, more than 100 dresses have been donated, along with accessories and shoes.

The mother-of-two said seeing the smiles on the little girls' faces has made everything worthwhile.

Kirsty's long-term partner, Christopher Fitzgerald, was killed outside the Wright Venue last year and she said 'The Keepsake Box' has helped her see "the good in the world again".

She is also giving organ donor cards to anyone who donates or rents a dress from The Keepsake Box, as Christopher helped save the lives of three people after he died.

"The whole thing is giving me a lot of strength at the minute, especially as it's coming up to the one year anniversary of Christopher's death," she said.

"I had one girl who sat down in her dress and didn't want to take it off. I went to bed happy. That's a big help. We get to see how many nice people there are out there."

A number of people got in contact with Kirsty to offer her dry cleaning services and free hair and make up for the mother's and daughter's.

"The whole thing has just snowballed. There are other pop-up shops being set up aswell. And I'm hoping to start doing the same with debs dresses when communion season is over.

"I got the idea at the start of the year when I was lying in bed, worrying about my son's communion coming up. I was thinking thankfully he is not a little girl as the dresses and everything are so expensive. It hit me that my daughter's dress is still in the wardrobe so I decided to share it on a private page for parents and it just went from there."

You can get in touch with Kirsty via  The Keepsake Box Facebook page or on Instagram @thekeepsakeboxx.

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