‘It is wonderful to think his legacy is living on': Fundraiser in memory of young Cork man raises more than €38k for air ambulance

‘It is wonderful to think his legacy is living on': Fundraiser in memory of young Cork man raises more than €38k for air ambulance

Pat and Bernie O'Connor from Banteer, Co Cork, presenting a cheque to Micheal Sheridan, CEO of Irish Community Air Ambulance at the ambulance base in Rathcoole, Co Cork. Also included is pilot Capt Tony McAleer. The funds were raised in a virtual fundraiser memory of their son Rory on the occasion of his 30th birthday.  Picture: David Keane.

A virtual fundraiser in memory of a young man from Banteer has raised more than €38,000 for the Irish Community Air Ambulance.

Rory O’Connor was 19-years-old when he died in a car crash in February 2011.

He was a keen sportsman, a member of the Banteer/Lyre GAA Club as well as the Duhallow Under 20, Cork Under 21 and Tralee IT football teams.

His family says he was always smiling and he has been described as a good friend, caring, inclusive and kind.

Rory’s parents Bernie and Pat O’Connor had planned to host a coffee morning on Tuesday, November 9th to mark what would have been Rory’s 30th birthday.

However, in light of the Covid restrictions, the family instead decided to hold a virtual event and asked people to give the price of a coffee and sticky bun.

The family had set a target of €2,000 on their GoFundMe page, however, they quickly exceeded this and in recent days, Bernie and Pat visited the Irish Community Air Ambulance base and presented a cheque for €37,784 to CEO Micheál Sheridan.

The donations have continued to roll in and the total now stands at €38,170.

Support for the fundraiser

Rory’s mother Bernie said people have been extremely generous. 

“We want to say a huge thank you to the 865 donors. People gave with their hearts, it feels like everyone who heard about it donated and amazingly we’re still receiving donations.

“We picked the Irish Community Air Ambulance because we’re on the flight path. I used to be filled with dread every time I heard the helicopter overhead, thinking about whoever was in trouble. Since I visited the base and met the crew I feel much more positive. I now believe the helicopter is the sound of hope, bringing advanced paramedics to the scene and taking patients to the hospital that best suits their needs."

“It is wonderful to think that Rory’s legacy is living on, that he is still making a difference and will facilitate many air ambulance taskings in the weeks and months ahead,” Bernie added.

Irish Community Air Ambulance CEO Micheál Sheridan thanked Rory’s family for the donation.

“I want to say a big thank you to the O’Connor family and to everyone near and far who donated. We have received great support from Banteer and the people of north Cork since day one and we are forever grateful.

“We’re not government funded so we rely on donations and fundraisers like this to bring hope to people in emergency situations. We’re called to the most serious incidents, often in rural and isolated locations. Each mission costs approximately €3,500 which means that not only have you remembered a remarkable young man but you have also funded at least ten of our future missions.”

Ireland's only charity-funded air ambulance 

The Irish Community Air Ambulance is Ireland’s first and only charity-funded HEMS Air Ambulance. It works in partnership with the National Ambulance Service and is tasked to respond to serious incidents and medical emergencies from its base in Rathcoole in North Cork.

The HEMS Air Ambulance has responded to more than 1200 missions since it was established in July 2019. It brings patients to the hospital that best suits their life-saving needs. Each mission costs an average of €3,500. The service is not government funded and relies solely on fundraising. For more information about the service or to make a donation directly to the Irish Community Air Ambulance visit https://communityairambulance.ie

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