Joy for Robyn as big-hearted readers give her mobility
The plight of a mother who could not afford a vehicle for her disabled child prompted a generous response from Sunday Independent readers.
Cabrini Fallon was overjoyed to receive the offer of an adapted van for her daughter Robyn completely free of charge. "I can't believe this brilliant news. We are so thankful," she said.
Michael Moran (50), from Elphin, Co Roscommon, offered her the vehicle after reading Robyn's story in the Sunday Independent last week.
"I'm very happy to give the van to the family," he said.
Mr Moran said he bought the silver Fiat Multipla van two years ago to transport his mother Josie and her wheelchair. Mrs Moran died, aged 92, in recent months and he was happy to pass on the vehicle to Robyn and her family.
He will ensure the van, which is in very good condition, will pass its scheduled NCT this month before handing it over.
His friend and neighbour Raymond Bradley, a collector of vintage tractors, will auction or raffle a vintage Ferguson T20 from the early 1950s to help pay some of the family's motoring costs, said Mr Moran.
Cabrini Fallon said she felt ''imprisoned'' in her home outside Sligo town with her daughter Robyn for the festive season because of an abolished transport grant and insufficient supports.
Her daughter Robyn (8) is severely disabled with cerebral palsy and epilepsy, and has a mental age of just eight months.
Robyn was a perfectly healthy baby who contracted meningitis, which caused brain damage. She cannot walk or talk.
The child has outgrown her old wheelchair and will be getting a bigger motorised wheelchair from the HSE in the near future. But to get State support to buy an adapted vehicle under the Disabled Drivers and Passenger Scheme, a family must pay two-thirds of the price before the State pays the remaining one-third.
But Cabrini and her partner Declan Kilgallon cannot afford to come up with two-thirds of the price of adapted vehicles on the market.
Cabrini receives a carers' allowance and Declan has casual employment as a chef, so they were unable to get a loan, she said.
Meanwhile, Robyn has grown too heavy for the couple to lift in and out of their Volkswagen Golf without a great amount of effort.
She told this newspaper last week: "I feel bad that I've never been able to bring Robyn to all the places I'd like to bring her. Having a van would allow us to do all these things."