A GENEROUS donor has pledged to cover a year's rent for Ireland's first support centre for children with cancer.
The centre run by Hand-in-Hand in Oranmore, Co Galway was opened on Monday by Ryan Tubridy who was joined by Lily Mae Morrison (6), famous from the Tiny Dancer campaign.
After a successful launch party to celebrate the centre, a Galway granddad stepped up and offered to cover the €4,800 cost of renting the centre's premises for its first year.
Jennifer Carpenter, Development Manager with Hand in Hand, told the Herald that the donation was both "a delight and a relief".
"That's nearly €5,000 that we will put straight back into our services," she said.
This is not the first time that the donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, has supported the charity.
"He said that he could see how much the centre was going to benefit families in need," she said.
"His wish to remain anonymous is absolutely typical of him, he is one of life's true sweethearts," Ms Carpenter said.
Hand in Hand relies solely on donations such as these at it does not receive State funding.
The new centre will provide bereavement sessions, peer support groups for parents and for siblings of children with cancer.
Since 2006 the charity has provided a range of services such as cleaning, laundry services and meal-provision for families who are battling a childhood cancer.
The charity helped 40 families last year at a cost of about €150,000, according to Ms Carpenter.
With the charity providing professional services to help, parents have more free time to spend with their ill children.
"For some parents it is a little bit of a chance to get to grips with the emotional turmoil of what's going on also," Ms Carpenter added.
Lily Mae Morrison captured the hearts of the nation when her parents released a version of the Elton John classic Tiny Dancer to raise funds for treatment in the US.
She was just four when she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. Her mother Judith is now on the board of Hand in Hand.