More than €375,000 raised so far for Ian O’Connell
BY MICHELLE CREAN
Killarney teenager Ian O’Connell – who has been left incapacitated from the neck down following a cycling accident last year – this week thanked the public for helping raise a whopping €375,000.
This week Ian (17), who will shortly be moving to a new specially adapted home in Killarney with his family, said that he still has bad days but is overwhelmed with the massive support he has received since his accident, on August 16, 2017.
“It’s hard to find words to express how grateful and thankful I am for everyone’s support and fundraising,” Ian, who is back to school as a fifth year in St Brendan’s College, told the Killarney Advertiser.
“It’s honestly mind blowing to see the generosity from people when something crazy and unexpected like this happens to somebody. I couldn’t be so positive without the support and kind messages I receive on a day to day basis.”
This week, a fundraising committee, formed in Spa in September 2017 to assist the teen, also thanked the people and numerous organisations for their generosity.
“The overall success of this venture has been extraordinary. Our committee are overwhelmed by the response,” committee Chairman James Gleeson, of Spa GAA club, said.
“With his positivity of outlook and his keen intellect, we feel there are very few limits to what Ian can achieve in the academic world.”
The fundraising started in October 2017 with a special Lotto for Ian, in the Torc Hotel, Killarney, and it proved to be a major success.
Subsequently, there were many other fundraising events, as well as inclusion as a nominated charity in the 2018 Ring of Kerry Cycle. There was the marvellous contribution of the management and staff of Killarney Park Hotel and of Denis Geaney, who organised Team Geaney for the cycle.
The All-Ireland GAA Golf Challenge, in Nuremore, Co Monaghan, had Ian as the beneficiary, from which he got a car specially adapted to his needs. Waterford man Liam Daniels and MEP Sean Kelly played key roles in this.
“It is a testament to the inspiration provided by Ian himself and his parents, Nora and Mick, and their extended families; to the wonderful generosity of so many groups and clubs (GAA and others), community enterprises, societies, charitable organisations, schools and, of course, the many individuals who contributed so generously,’’ said the Spa Fundraising Committee in a statement.
“At the moment, more than €375,000 has been raised in this phase of fundraising. As all our expenses have been covered by generous sponsorship, all money raised has been lodged in a Trust Fund for Ian.
“This fund is administered by three trustees, namely Deirdre O’Sullivan Darcy, Ivor Flynn and Tadhg Hickey. We are indeed fortunate to have people of their calibre willing to carry out this function.
“Our committee will take a break from active fundraising for now, but we will monitor Ian’s progress in the future and be available to assist in any way. The Trust Fund account is of course still open and the trustees will be available to assist with any queries. Finally, can we again express our deep gratitude to everyone who helped make this campaign the success it was.’’