Light It Up Gold in memory of Gearóid
AS September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, pupils at Dooagh National School, on Achill Island, are lending their support to the local-based charity, Light It Up Gold, in memory of their six-year-old school mate, Gearóid Murphy, who died tragically of cancer in 2014.
Gearóid's mother, Mary Murphy, recalls an arduous journey that Gearóid and his family, father Cormac, brothers Eoin and Oisín and sisters Áine and Eilís, courageously endured.
She said: “Gearóid (pictured below having a moment of fun at Mayo University Hospital) was diagnosed with kidney cancer while still in playschool and underwent treatment for one year.
“He came out the other side. We thought that had been our cross to carry and that we had carried it and left it behind us.
“Four months later it was back, bigger than ever. This time it was in both lungs and his stomach.
“In August 2014 they were due to operate but by that stage the cancer was too advanced and Gearóid was given weeks to live. He passed away in September, an utterly unnatural situation for any parent to find themselves in.
“He looked so well and all the time this monster was raging inside him. He never put his head down. He wanted to do what every child was doing. He would fight with his sisters and brothers and would lie on the couch when he was out of energy.
“When we think back now, he was leaving as many memories for us as he could,” said Mary.
The Light It Up Gold fundraiser is three fold. The Murphys hope to raise awareness of childhood cancer, to raise funds for Hand-In-Hand West, a charity for families affected by childhood cancer, and to help provide a play specialist service for children with cancer at Mayo University Hospital, Castlebar, and, most importantly, to remember Gearóid.
Now the staff and management at nearby Mulranny Park Hotel are doing their bit to help the charity.
They have childhood cancer pins available at reception and have created gold candelabra, candles and ribbons around the hotel to show their support. And they have lit up the hotel’s front door to support the ‘Light It Up’ campaign.
Since 2013 buildings and landmarks in Ireland have taken part in the Light It Up Gold campaign.
This month over 40 buildings will Light It Up Gold around Ireland, including Belfast City Hall, St. Patrick's Cathedral, An Grianan Theatre, Blackrock Castle Observatory, Convention Centre Dublin, Blarney Castle, Firkin Crane and many others.
The Dooagh pupils will hold a sponsored walk from the school to the local church on Sunday, September 25, from 7.30 to 9.30 p.m. where they all will walk with candles/torches, etcetera, to raise money and remember their school mate.