Grieving father to do charity cycle to cover costs of hotels for children with cancer

Shane Stanely and Rebecca Enright want to give back to children's charity Aoibheann's Pink Tie (APT) who paid for their short-term hotel accommodation
Grieving father to do charity cycle to cover costs of hotels for children with cancer

Louise Walsh

A heartbroken Limerick family who lost their three-year old daughter to cancer two months ago have been overwhelmed by public generosity to raise funds for hotel rooms for parents bringing their child to hospital appointments.

Devastated Shane Stanely and Rebecca Enright want to give back to children's charity Aoibheann's Pink Tie (APT) who paid for their short-term hotel accommodation after travelling the 197km trip from their home for Madison's treatment at Crumlin Children's Hospital.

The charity currently pays up to €12,000 a month in hotel rooms for families of children attending St John's Ward and say that hotels they deal with have not increased room prices for them as accommodation costs rise throughout the country.

A gofundme page set up for a fundraising cycle to Dublin next month has reached almost €16,000 in a week - way beyond their target of €2,000.

Maddie sadly passed away on April 15th and the cycle will take the same route from Corbally to Crumlin that the family drove when driving to the hospital on many occasions during her illness.

"We are so grateful to have such a supportive group around us at this time and we are so appreciative of everything APT did for us," said Mr Stanely.

"They took away the financial worry of overnight and extended stays in Dublin while Maddie was attending appointments and getting treatment. It's a two and a half hour journey from Limerick to Dublin so not having to make the return trip in a day was of huge benefit to us.

"Maddie enjoyed her stays in hotels. She used to love a pizza party on a Friday at home and one time, when we were staying in Dublin, she got so upset at the thought of not being at home that the lovely staff made sure she got her pizza party.

"It wasn't about the toppings, just that she could dip the slice into garlic sauce and lick it off like an ice-cream," he fondly remembered.

"APT took that burden from us which meant we could concentrate and spend every minute with our daughter. Rebecca left work to be Maddie's carer and often both of us had to travel to appointments, which meant I had to take time off work.

"Despite being a wage down, APT meant we didn't have to think about money which was a huge relief. We just want to pay some of that kindness back in raising money for APT so they can help other families with children on St John's Ward in Crumlin, who hopefully, will get a better outcome than us.

"We are extremely grateful that we got that time with Maddie - probably more time than if she never got sick. We made a lifetime of memories over such a short time and we will always be grateful to APT for that.

"So myself and my best friend Sean Hynan will cycle for APT alongside sponsors The Hub Bike Shop and Rebecca who will be driving behind us.

Hotel prices

Aoibheann's dad and co-founder of APT, Jimmy Norman says the hotels they work with have kindly kept their prices 'pre-lunacy' for them.

"We work with a number of hotels who have always been fantastic in supporting us and the families we work with," he said

"They offer rooms to us at a reasonable price and have kept prices pre-lunacy for us at a time when rooms are so scarce and expensive.

"These families are already dealing with so much and we've heard the horror stories of them paying huge amounts for a room so they can get their child to treatment in Crumlin.

"We pay €12,000 each month in hotel accommodation costs for these families and Aoibheann's Lighthouse in Drimnagh gives one family who need to stay long-term the space to remain together as a family and process what is going on.

"We also offer fuel vouchers to families who are now paying almost double in fuel to drive across the country for appointments.

"In Ireland every week, up to four families receive the devastating news that their child has cancer and APT is only too glad to be able to offer practical support to them, thanks to all people like Shane and Rebecca who kindly fundraise for us."

The Corbally to Crumlin cycle will take place on July 23rd and anyone who would like to donate can do so at here.

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