Dundalk woman Jane McDermott organised a table quiz in her local pub, Kennedy’s Bar last Friday night to raise funds for Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Ireland’s (SBHI) summer respite programme which she has volunteered on for the past five years.
Having set herself a fundraising target of €1,000, Jane, from the Carrick Road in Dundalk, was overwhelmed with the support she received from her local community in exceeding her goal by raising a total of €1,300.
17 groups of four people paid €20 a team to enter the quiz and vied with each other to correctly answer all the questions posed by quizmaster, Jane’s dad, Peter McDermott.
Thanks to the generosity of many local businesses donating raffle and spot prizes, including local artist Geraldine Leonard who donated a painting of local scenery, almost €1,000 was raised from the raffle.
Jane was assisted on the night by her friends Lorraine Tinnelly, Chelcy Sharkey, Roisin McDermott and Kevin Adams who sold the raffle tickets. And she was also supported in the fundraiser by her mother and brother Deirdre and Peter McDermott.
“When anyone is organising a fundraiser, without the support of the local community, they have nothing,” said Jane.
“I am so lucky to have such a wonderfully supportive community here in Dundalk. People were so brilliant, kind, and generous.
“People really rallied to the call and I am so delighted to have such a wonderful support system and to have raised so much money.
“The staff of Kennedy’s were so kind, they went out of their way to help us on the night. People have even suggested that I make it an annual night!”
Jane, who lives with Spina Bifida, first experienced SBHI’s SHINE (Spina Bifida • Hydrocephalus • Ireland • Nurturing • Empowerment) summer programme as a participant. It was such a positive, enjoyable, and fulfilling experience for her, she decided to become a volunteer to ensure that many other people living with Spina Bifida and/or Hydrocephalus could enjoy SHINE.
“There are five different SHINE weeks each summer to cater for children and young adults, including an Independence Week and a Special Care Week, called Sunflower Week,” explained Jane.
“All the SHINE weeks are so important to the participants for different reasons, and while no one week is more important than the other, I love volunteering on Sunflower Week.
“There is something very special about Sunflower Week which is a respite week mainly. It is hard to explain why it is so special, I just love being part of it and seeing how much each participant gets out of the week – they enjoy themselves so much, they are sad to go home!”
For the last few years, Jane had wished to undertake an event to raise money for Sunflower Week to ensure the resources remain in place to keep this vital project going.
She was spurred on to make her fundraising promise a reality following the death late last year of one of the Sunflower Week participants, Derek Smith from Co. Wexford, whom, she said, looked forward to his respite week all year.
Jane is now looking forward to volunteering as Liaison Officer again this year at Sunflower Week from 22nd to 28thJuly at Cuisle Holiday Centre, Donamon, Co. Roscommon.