Charity to support local play therapy services in memory of Cork child

The Heart Angel Charity was set up by the parents of Riverstick girl Béibhinn O'Connor, who passed away last year at the age of nine
Charity to support local play therapy services in memory of Cork child

Béibhinn's mum and charity chairperson Irene O'Connor said that she is "delighted" to work with Chris O'Brien of the Carrigaline Family Support Centre to help support play therapy services in Cork. Picture: Siobhán Russell.

FAMILIES in Cork are to benefit from improved play therapy services for children in the coming months thanks to a donation by a local charity.

The announcement was made by The Heart Angel Charity, which was set up earlier this year in memory of Béibhinn O’Connor, a nine year old from Riverstick who tragically passed away following open heart surgery last year.

The funding is being donated to the Carrigaline Family Support Centre with a particular focus on supporting play therapy services for children in the area.

The provision of such services is “close to the heart” of the charity, which a spokesperson said has had “fantastic support” from the local community since launching in June.

Irene O'Connor with Chris O'Brien of the Carrigaline Family Support Centre and Louise Cummins, Deborah McGlinchey, and Jane Manning of The Angel Heart Charity. Picture: Siobhán Russell.
Irene O'Connor with Chris O'Brien of the Carrigaline Family Support Centre and Louise Cummins, Deborah McGlinchey, and Jane Manning of The Angel Heart Charity. Picture: Siobhán Russell.

Béibhinn was born with an extremely rare congenital heart defect and underwent major surgery in September 2020. 

Although the surgery was a success, Béibhinn unfortunately suffered from cardiac arrest during a routine postoperative procedure.

Her parents, Eoin and Irene O’Connor, later set up the Heart Angel website in her honour and asked the public to carry out random acts of kindness in their communities and post the pictures on social media.

Now, The Heart Angel is a registered charity and is launching it's first ‘giving back’ initiative by helping fund play therapy for children in Cork.

“Béibhinn availed of play therapy services in the lead up to her surgery and I saw first-hand the difference it made to her and all our family,” said Irene O’Connor. 

“We’re delighted to support this initiative.’’ 

The manager of the Carrigaline Family Support Centre, Chris O’Brien, said that the funding will help improve the lives of families in Carrigaline and its surrounding areas.

"Play therapy is one of the most in-demand services in our centre. It helps children to process the world around them and any issues they might be facing,” he said.

“It’s a safe place for a child to work through and make sense of any concerns while being guided and supported by a therapist who recognises the power of play.”

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