Saturday 24 February 2018

Autism Ball raises €9,000

Jacinta McHugh, from Galway and Catherine Mackey, Ferns.
Jacinta McHugh, from Galway and Catherine Mackey, Ferns.
Chloe Harpur and James Gordan, from Rosslare.
Kay Kelly and Chris Gordan Curracloe.
The CAN board of directors (from left), front, Teresa Carbuckley, Karen Furlong, Pauline Byrne, Mag Furness and Catherine Fedorca; back, Saskia and Fervaas Dodebier, Mathew O'Hanlon (patron), and Maria Banville. Pictures by Mary Browne
Jenny and Phil O'Neill from New Ross.
Saskia Dodebier, Crossabeg, and Tommy Breen, Monageer.

David Looby

The first ever Cottage Autism Network ball, which was held in New Ross recently, raised €9,000 for the organisation.

CAN was founded in 2004 by a group of parents who wanted to address the gap in support for parents and children whose families were affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder. Over the past 11 years, CAN have been part of a growing support movement both nationally and internationally in addressing the social, educational, health and service needs of children and their families.

More than 170 people from the Wexford and New Ross areas attended the gala ball night at the Brandon House Hotel, where RTE newsreader Eileen Dunne was master of ceremonies.

Following a champagne reception the crowd made their wall to the banquet hall where senior Wexford hurling team captain Matthew O'Hanlon addressed the gathering.

Following several speeches abuot Autism Awareness Month with social inclusion top of the agenda, along with highlighting the positive role CAN plays in Wexford communities, the crowd enjoyed a sumptuous meal and some more speeches, including one by CAN chairman Servaas Dodbier, before dancing the night away to The Bottle Brothers and some dance music.

CAN Treasurer Pauline Byrne said: 'We had a great turn out. We were very surprised by the crowd and we had a lot of donations from people so we were very happy.'

Ms Byrne said many people in attendance were surprised by how little they knew about autism.

CAN supports 90 families of children and young people with autism, providing activities for them, including a subsidised cinema club.

'We have had some grant funding in recent years and we do ask parents to subsidise us. We had an office in New Ross but we found that parents were fundraising to keep it open when they needed to be at home with their children.'

CAN is run by eight volunteers, seven women and Mr Dodbier.

The next CAN event is a special screening of the film Life Animated at Wexford Omniplex on Thursday. April 20, at 7 p.m.

The documentary film by Oscar award winning directror winning director Roger Ross Williams tells the inspirational story of Owen Suskind, a young man who was unable to speak as a child until he and his family discovered a unique way to communicate by immersing themselves in the world of classic Disney animated films. Tickets are available from Wexford Omniplex and from CAN committee members.

New Ross Standard

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