Mary Claire Knowles with mum Rose and Anthony and brothers. Picture: Alf Harvey
A big fundraiser with a farming flavour takes place this weekend in Ballyroan to help a local girl who is battling a severe illness.
Scully's Bar in Ballyroan is the venue for the charity livestock and fodder auction being organised to raise funds for little Mary-Claire Knowles and her family, who also live in Ballyroan.
Mary-Claire suffers from a rare but severe form of epilepsy which results in prolonged seizures.
Eileen Scully is among the organisers of the event which has had a great response so far from the public.
She said the community wanted to find a way to support a family who, alongside living in the village, have battled hard for the retention of services in the Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise.
“As a community, we felt that we should be doing something to help them. We can see their struggle and we know them personally so people thought that we should do something,” she said.
Apart from inviting the public along to the auction, the organisers have also appealed to farmers to make donations to the sale.
At each door called to Eileen said that there has been great support for the family.
“We've had a big response,” she said.
Eileen believes that by telling their story of how Portlaoise hospital has helped their daughter, Rose and Anthony Knowles have also helped the public campaign for the retention of services.
“They are the people who made us all sit up and made us realise how much we need our hospital,” she said.
The funds raised will go towards treatment the family hope to organise for Mary-Claire in the Netherlands. The family will have to travel with Mary-Clarie for the duration of her treatment.
The event takes place in Scully's on Sunday, October 28 at 9pm. The auction of farming items is due to get underway by 9.30pm.
Those attending are advised that fodder purchased on the night can be collected at a later date from donor farmers.
Items have also been donated by many businesses in Ballyroan, Abbeyleix, Portlaoise and beyond.
To donate, contact Eileen on 085 1641399 or 087 956 2491.
Ceoil and craic is also promised.