LIMERICK-based charity Cliona’s Foundation says it is currently working to provide financial assistance to 27 families who are facing their last Christmas with a seriously ill child and are trying to make it as special as possible.
Brendan Ring says that families with sick children face serious financial difficulties throughout the year, however “this time of year it can be extra difficult”.
“You have families with very ill children. They know it’s going to be their last Christmas and that’s an awful situation to be in. I know how those families are feeling right now. Coming from our own experience, our Cliona passed away in December and it’s still a very tough time for us even after a number of years,” he told the Limerick Post.
Brendan and his wife Terry founded Cliona’s Foundation in 2007 following the death of their daughter Cliona from a brain tumour.
The charity works to help the families of seriously ill children with non-medical expenses and has so far given assistance to about 300 families across the country.
According to Brendan, some families struggle with everyday bills like heating and food, and costs such as travel expenses and childcare when one of their children is in hospital.
Referring to a current storyline in Coronation Street in which character Tyrone Dobbs resorts to taking out payday loans to cope with the family’s debts after his daughter was diagnosed with cancer, Brendan says “this is not just TV, this is real life for a lot of people”.
“They have a child in hospital who is very ill, but the bills still need to be paid, and we need to be able to help them. We launched a Christmas appeal and wrote to companies in Limerick city and county asking them to make a donation. We did get a good response to it and there are people out there raising money for us, but we can always do with more, we still have a long way to go,” added Brendan.
To make a donation to Cliona’s Foundation, go to www.clionasfoundation.ie, or text CLIONA to 50300 to donate €2 to the charity’s Christmas appeal.