AN event to honour an inspiring late Cork boy showed how he is continuing to raise awareness of worthy charities, even in death.
Brendan Tyrrell’s head shave event at the Maple Leaf Bar in Blackrock Village raised funds for both the Little Blue Heroes initiative and the Puffin Ward in Cork University Hospital in memory of his brave son Seán.
The charity fundraiser saw members and friends of the family have their heads shaved with some men even stretching to leg waxing for the entertainment of punters. Seán’s brother Mark even got in on the act and had his legs waxed to raise as much funds as possible for the selected charities. Some 250 turned out on the night to show their support.
More than €6000 has already been raised through the event with donations continuing to flood in.
The family’s strength has been inspiring for many less than a year since Seán’s death.
The adored 14-year-old was born with Down syndrome and suffered from major heart problems during his lifetime.
Seán was made an honorary Garda by the Little Blue Heroes organisation before passing away last November. Gardaí in the Blackrock area had treated him to a drive-by celebration featuring a convoy of emergency vehicles and Garda dogs in 2021.
Some 19 people braved razer blades and hot wax for the night. They included two females who sacrificed their luscious locks in memory of Seán.
Brendan extended his gratitude to those who made the event possible.
“I know that Seán was looking down on us as everything went so brilliantly on the night. I really want to thank the O’Leary family from the Maple Leaf where the fundraiser was held. We are also extremely thankful to everyone who donated.”
Katieann, whose father (Seán’s uncle) died just weeks after his passing, was among those to have their head shaved.
“Katieann said that if her dad was here today it is what he would have done,” Brendan said. “I asked her if she was sure she wanted to go through with it but she felt really strongly about doing it for her dad as well as Seán.”
The Blackrock man said he was touched by the kindness of strangers as well as friends and family.
“One woman I’d never met, who had heard about Seán gave a donation of €140 and stayed to get her head shaved. We were very sad but also very proud of the legacy Seán has left behind. The fact that people still came out to support, donate and sponsor us during a cost-of-living crisis goes to show how touched people were by his story. It meant so much to the whole family.” Brendan added that they were delighted to surpass their target given their close links to the selected charities.
Seán had previously been appointed as an honorary Garda for the Little Blue Heroes. The title had become such an important part of the 14-year-old’s identity he was laid to rest in the uniform which included his Garda number.
The family held on to the Garda hat as a reminder of happier times.
Funds from the event will be split between the Little Blue Heroes and the Puffin Ward at Cork University Hospital.
Brenda opened up about his gratitude to the Puffin Ward in CUH, where Seán was a patient, in a previous interview with the Echo. “I would really like to give other children the chance that Seán had and also give back to the staff of the hospital who helped him,” he said.
“The Puffin ward did fantastic things for Seán. The nurses and doctors were second to none. Really and truly I’ve no regrets. They did everything to save the child but he just couldn’t fight anymore.”
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