A fundraiser for five year old brain tumour patient Leah Carmody is to be held in the Gaelic Park on 18 October.
The discovery of a brain tumour was made in January of this year when Leah took a bad tumble in school and was taken to hospital as a precaution. During a subsequent biopsy of the tumor, Leah also suffered a stroke. She was left with partial paralysis and short term memory deficits.
Leah is the daughter of Irish born Mike and Aileen Carmody who have been living in the States for almost 20 years, with support coming from both their US and Irish communities following the discovery of their child’s tumour.
Secretary of the benefit, Mary O’Sullivan explains the extent of Leah’s illnesses and commends the strength of the Carmody family throughout their difficult time.
“Leah is undergoing 60 weeks of chemotherapy treatment for the tumor. She has currently completed 13 of those weeks. She had a tough time with the chemo at first, but as the treatments have been fine-tuned, she is feeling better and more energetic and has more good days than bad. She lost all her hair, but has been rocking some cute hats and headbands. She undergoes regular MRI's and other monitoring measures. She has also unfortunately developed diabetes which will be a life-long condition and requires regular monitoring and attention. There's a lot going on for such a little girl to have to deal with, but Aileen and Mike have been absolute rocks, and frankly their strength is amazing and inspiring.”
The benefit aims to raise funds to help The Carmody family pay for medical costs and expenses.
Ms. O’Sullivan says that although they are thousands of miles apart, both Aileen and Mike’s home communities in Strabane, Co. Tyrone and Tarbert, Co. Kerry have been very helpful with fundraising in Ireland.
“(Aileen’s) family and the people of Strabane have been very active in fundraising for Leah. They have had multiple events ever since her diagnosis, from walks to music nights. The people of Tarbert are also planning a fundraiser in the coming months, possibly some kind of greyhound night although this is still in the planning stages”, Ms. O’Sullivan said.
The benefit to be held on Sunday, October 18 in the Gaelic Park NY has rallied the support of many familiar faces including Kerry legend and All Ireland star Declan O'Sullivan.
“He visited Leah when he was here in April for the Kerry FC of NY annual dinner dance, and has generously donated the boots he wore in last year's All Ireland to be auctioned off the evening of the benefit. He has also been a terrific help in helping to publicize the benefit, supporting us on social media. He was one of the very first to tweet out his support for the benefit; along with Joe Brolly, Tomas O Se and the Tyrone GAA, among others. Current Kerry players Paul Geaney and Shane Enright, also a Tarbert native, filmed a small video wishing Leah well and supporting the benefit.”
Support from others such as Tyrone All Ireland Medal Winner and Tyrone man Mickey Coleman and
Stevie Roche, head barman at Gaelic Park, has gotten many popular local bands on board to play the benefit. There will also be a range of signed sporting gear to give away at the event.
“Besides Declan's boots, we have a golf shirt signed by Padraig Harrington. We also have a gorgeous verified, framed and signed poster from "The Miracle in Istanbul", the 2005 Liverpool Champions League Final. We also have an NYCFC jersey signed by soccer superstars David Villa, Frank Lampard, Andrea Pirlo, and the rest of the team. We have signed County jerseys from Kerry and Tyrone, and other really fantastic”, Ms. O’Sullivan said.
The benefit committee has extended their welcome to anyone who would like to volunteer for the event. Their next meeting will take place on August 19 at 7:30 in the Aqueduct North on Katonah Ave and all are welcome.“People can follow what's going on with the benefit on our Facebook page "The Leah Carmody Benefit Fund", as well as on our website, www.LeahCarmodyBenefitFund.com, and twitter @LeahCarmodyBnft. We can be reached by email at [email protected] . We can also accept online donations through Paypal to our email address. Checks can also be mailed to The Leah Carmody Benefit Fund, c/o Country Bank, 4349 Katonah Ave, Bronx, NY 10470. In addition to the benefit, we are organizing a golf outing to take place in Pelham Bay Golf Course on Saturday, September 12th. There are playing and sponsorship opportunities still available, although spots are filling up fast. Information on the golf outing can be found on our Facebook page and our website, and interested parties can contact Willie O'Donnell at (917) 650- 4940 or [email protected] or Eoin Moriarty at (347)395-7186 or [email protected]”