A BALLYVOLANE hairdresser has honoured the memory of her father and brother by handing a €3,500 cheque to the Children’s Leukaemia Association.
Ciara Dorrington, the manager of Wayne Lloyd’s hair salon on Washington Street, put her own skills to the test by organising a high-end beauty and fashion event, attended by fashion bloggers and complete with complimentary prosecco and afternoon tea, in the Ambassador Hotel.
Fashion bloggers Glamity Jane and Anne Mc Sweeney, as well as her own boss, top stylist Wayne Lloyd, were on hand with fashion, hair and beauty talks and the attendees all took home a goody bag including a brow kit.
Ciara, who is a trained Trichologist who studied hair loss and scalp disorders for two years in London, also contributed a talk on her special field.
“The whole day was just amazing,” Ciara says. “There was a lot of love in the room.”
Having originally hoped to sell 50 tickets for her event, Ciara was amazed and delighted at the public response: 120 people attended.
“It was a brilliant day and the Ambassador Hotel was amazing,” she says.
“They gave me the room for free and a massive discount on the afternoon tea, which meant almost half the ticket cost could go direct to the charity.
“One lovely client of mine said she couldn’t go to the event; she rang me back after and said she’d just bought us a load of prosecco to donate anonymously.”
For Ciara, there are special memories attached to fundraising for the Children’s Leukaemia Association; the memory of her dad, Cliff Dorrington, but also, tragically, of her brother Clifford, who died of meningitis over 20 years ago, when he was eight years old and Ciara was five and a half.
“I remember him being a wild kid; I was the quiet one,” she says. “It was a very tough time. He got sick quite quickly and was taken to hospital. He even got better for a little while. It was such a rollercoaster for my parents because it looked like he was going to get better. He was sitting up; he asked for a banana, and he couldn’t have anything.
“My dad never ate a banana again until the day he died because he said he couldn’t give him the one he’d wanted.”
Clifford passed away in the Mercy Hospital, where Ciara’s family were bowled over by the care and attention of hospital staff.
“Because he was such a wild, funny rascal of a kid, and because the nurses all knew him, some of the nurses asked to swap shifts while he was passing because they couldn’t be there when he went,” Ciara recalls.
“Even in such a tough time, my mum and dad couldn’t get over the staff and how amazing they were. For a couple of years, they did bits and pieces raising money for the children’s unit.”
Ciara’s dad, Cliff, was a regular in the KLM bar on the Lower Road. Until his own death in 2012, he would hold regular fundraisers; his own experience of how vital support services are to the family of a sick or dying child meant he opted to raise funds for the Children’s Leukaemia Association (CLA). The childhood cancer, which affects the white blood cells, accounts for 21% of all child cancer deaths, according to Cancer Research UK. Until CLA was founded in the 1970s, there were no dedicated treatment facilities in Cork.
“My dad would arrange fund-raisers at the bar, and we always aimed to hand over a cheque for about €5,000 per year,” Ciara says.
“Some of the guys in the bar would do Christmas swims and sponsored cycles to Youghal, but this year I wanted to use the contacts I had and do what I know best.
“If I’m being 100% honest, when I started, I wanted to do this fund-raiser to honour my dad,” Ciara says.
“But the more I started learning about the charity the more passionate I got about it. CLA is a Cork charity and everyone on their board is a volunteer and has had a child with leukaemia or another serious illness.
“So at this stage, for me, it’s become very much about the charity and awareness for them. A lot of people don’t know about the work that they do, and I think they’d have more support if people did.”