Mary Ward from Birr is not only a busy full-time mother-of-four. She also has a big heart, and on Friday she’s taking time out of her schedule to run a four-hour fundraising event in Camcor Park to help with the costs of medical treatment for her friend’s little girl Sophie, who has a rare form of cancer.
Three-year-old Sophie Sweeney from Athlone was diagnosed with a tumour on her brain stem in October 2012, when she wasn’t even two years old. Since then she’s been in and out of hospital, and currently she’s receiving chemotherapy treatment at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin.
Mary counts among her friends Sophie’s mother Cassandra, and said this week her efforts to help with Sophie’s Hope Fund are the least she can do. Mary herself has four children: Bernard (15), Megan (10) and twins Jake and Christopher (5). Her twins were born premature, at just 29 weeks into her pregnancy.
“I was looking at them, thinking how I’d feel if anything happened to them,” she said, “and I thought the least I can do is try to help with the cause.”
What Mary has organised is an event that will run in Camcor Park from 2pm until 6pm on Friday, and that will include a cake sale, a raffle, face painting and a bouncing castle.
Mary said locals have been quick to help out, with businesses including Loughnane’s Centra, Frawley’s, SuperValu, Whelan’s, O’Hanlon’s, Butlers and Camcor Castles all supporting the day. Mary’s neighbours and friends, meanwhile, have been hard at work over the past few days creating cakes and buns for the charity sale.
Everyone is welcome to Friday's event. Those who would like to donate directly to Sophie’s Hope Fund can do so to IBAN IE76ATR0991022, BIC ATROIE21, and can find out more about the cause by visiting www.facebook.com/sophiesweeneyshope.