The Lithuanian community in Laois united over the May bank holiday to raise money for treatment for a sick boy in their home country.
Justukas aged 10 is undergoing cancer treatment in Lithuania.
While he is in hospital his medicines are free, but when he stays at home, his family must pay €900 a week for it.
“We did not know how strong the Lithuanian community is in Laois but when Justukas' story spread, there was no question,” said one of the organisers, Ruta Maciuliene from Glendowns, Portlaoise.
At first they were going to donate to a Dublin event for Justukas, but decided to run their own event, by baking and selling a traditional Polish pastry with meat and cabbage, kibinai, similar to a cornish pasty.
“We were the first in Laois to support him. In two weeks we got over 40 orders and we baked 600 kinanu, in my kitchen,” she said.
Working in her kitchen were Ilona Goncarenko, Elyte Kosa, Indre Kaminske, Ilona Advejeve, Laura Kucinskaite and Jurate Snitkaite, while bookkeeper Rita Aukstkalniene was in charge of orders and deliveries.
“A huge thanks to Ilona Goncarenko, as she was the leader at the baking,” said Ruta.
There was also a tournament of lasertag for those not baking, organised by Terra Lasertag Portlaoise.
In all the group raised €1,007 to donate. More than €5,000 has been donated from Lithuanian people all over Ireland for Justukas' medical treatment.
“This community is full of wonderful people. If you can't find one, just become one. We hope that this event will inspire more people to do more fundraising events, it really brought us together” said Ruta.
She thanked local companies for supporting the fundraiser, and the many families who bought pastries and came to the games .
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