CHARITY WEIGHT LOSS: Killarney’s Noel O’Sullivan is currently losing one stone in weight to fundraise for a sick little girl. Photo: Michelle Crean

By Michelle Crean

One way to lose weight is to put yourself out there in the public eye – which is what one local man has done for the month of June.

However, Killarney’s Noel O’Sullivan has an extra reason as he’s raising funds for a young girl who recently had her leg amputated after being diagnosed with a rare life threatening Osteosarcoma tumour in her tibia. With a GoFundMe page set up, so far over €155k has been raised for the Galway family to help them access the prosthetics for young Saoirse Ruane and make adjustments to their home.

Noel and his wife know the family personally and as he wanted to come up with a unique fundraiser he decided, after clocking up some pounds during lockdown, to combine his weight loss with a fundraiser.

Noel, who is a Learning Support teacher in St Oliver’s NS, has been greatly inspired for his plan to lose a stone in June after receiving positive comments online both publicly​​​​​​​ and privately in the last few weeks.

Currently he’s down just under half a stone with good food and plenty of exercise and with a few weeks left hopes to achieve the full 14 pound weight loss target.

“My wife became friends with Saoirse’s mom Rosanna and my daughter Cora is around Saoirse’s age and the family have visited Killarney,” Noel this week told the Killarney Advertiser.
“She has a rare form of cancer and they had to amputate her leg. For something like that to happen to such a young girl is awful.”

Losing his mom in April combined with the lockdown meant he piled on the pounds so a weight loss fundraiser was his first choice.

“I had this idea to do a fundraiser that would be challenging and engaging and I weighted myself online which was 15 stone 13 and a half pounds and put up the GoFundMe page link. ​​​​​​It’s been very positive.”​

Noel said that the fundraising efforts by everyone is keeping the family’s spirits up while Saoirse is in and out of hospital.

He added that Fifth Class pupils from St Oliver’s also generously made a donation of €250 from their Young Entrepreneurs project selling stressballs.

To donate to the fundraiser go to GoFundMe: SOS – Support Our Saoírse.