The Irish community in New York stepped out to support Jane Richard, the seven-year-old from Dorchester who lost a leg in the Boston marathon bombings. The April 12th terrorist attack also claimed the life of her eight-year-old brother Martin and seriously injured her mother Denise.
Motivated Irish dancers Joe Harrison and Catherine Ternes started to organize ‘Dance Out For Jane’ in Boston and the New York community followed suit to show their support for the Richard family.
“My heart was broken and all of us felt it when we heard the fatalities of the marathon bombings,” said event organizer Unateresa Gormley.
The New York Rose of Tralee committee joined forces with the Rosy Heart Foundation to hold a fundraiser that coincided with the selection of the New York rose this past weekend. After a few days of preparation a Dance Out and Music Session for Jane and the Richard family was in full swing in New York. At time of press there was more than $5,000 raised.
“Word of the event spread through Facebook,” said Gormley. “We are just amazed by people's generosity and willingness to help. The turnout of support was way beyond our expectations.”
News that Jane Richard was an Irish dancer set in motion a series of events to help the family.
“It’s amazing. Across the country and around the world they are holding fundraisers. Many individuals and groups have already been working on Wrap Jane with Love, a quilt of all Irish dance school t-shirts and Dye Your Socks Red for Jane,” Gormley told IrishCentral Community News.
"When tragedy strikes, we come together to help those in need. Saturday’s Dance out and Music Session for Jane and the Richard Family was held in the spirit of a community coming together to respond collectively to a great need. The goal was to provide something for everyone - in addition to being a great event.”
Ninety percent of proceeds raised on Saturday are being donated to the Richard Family Fund and ten percent of proceeds to Leukemia & Lymphoma Foundation.
Musicians and dancers came from as far as Maryland, Connecticut, and Albany to donate their time and Irish dancing talent.
Erin Laughran, 2011 New York Rose of Tralee, brought her students from the Laughran School Of Music. Erin and Mickey Coleman entertained the onlookers with a melody of several songs.
Donnie Carroll provided a sound system for the event. Maurice Foley from Gaelic Park donated hot food for 200 people, Eileen's Country Kitchen donated sandwiches, John Halpin, President of The Kerrymen Association donated the hall, as well as all the utensils and paper goods.
Girsa had everyone up on the floor. Bridget Flynn and the Flynn dancers, Inishfree Dancers, Broesler Dancers, Hendry Dancers, Niall O'Leary dancers and musicians, McGough dancers, Sheahan/Gormley dancers, Donny Golden Dancers, Deirdre O'Mara dancers, Annmarie Acosta school and so many more little ones came out in their droves to support the Richard family.
The lead dancers from “Lord Of The Dance”, Declan Crowley and Christine Dolzall, Bernadette Devereaux, Catherine Devereaux, and Hamerstep’s Jonthan Sroar and Megan Lucey also attended.
“It was a great success and a great day. I can't thank everyone enough for all their great efforts to make this a success. The team of volunteers from Patricia Crowley from Albany, Alice Farrell, Christine Timm, Karen Murphy, Jonathan Sroar, and so many more... a community team,” said Gormley.
In Boston friends of the Dorchester family staged two fundraisers on Saturday to help the Richards with their expenses.
Dancers from the Clifden Academy of Irish Dance held a ‘Dance Out for Jane’ at John Hancock Hall and singers from two Boston and two Cambridge choirs joined for a concert at St. Mark Church in Dorchester, the Boston Herald reports.
In Philadelphia the Caitrin Academy of Irish Dance also showed their support for the Richard family at an event in the Trappe Shopping Center.
The fundraising efforts were coordinated by Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Parade Director Michael Bradley, Sheila Sweeney of the McDade-Cara School of Irish Dance, and John Dougherty, of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 98.
“As someone who teaches 100 students a week, it’s just so hard to fathom,” Sweeney told IrishPhiladelphia.com. “When you look at these little girls, they’re so sweet, so innocent. I’m just happy to see all the Irish dance schools coming together for this cause.”
Watch a video report of the fundraising efforts in Boston below: