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At risk of becoming a bore by repeating my admiration for this writer and her latest book, I give you here her own words about the charities she’s supporting with royalties.
Right now you can get it for 0.99 of your local currency on pre-order for delivery on September 5. I ordered my copy a while back, even though I had the privilege of reading an early draft. I don’t merely recommend it, I urge you to get your hands on it if you haven’t already. You will not be disappointed, either by plot, by character development or by the sheer quality of the writing.
It is 7 or 8 years since the Laois Writers’ Group published an anthology which they sold in order to raise funds for the Cuisle Centre. By attracting sponsors and holding a slew of fund raising events we were able to defray the cost of having the book printed locally so that all sales proceeds went to the charity which supports patients and their loved ones following a diagnosis of cancer.
More recently, as Paul Ruddock’s post which follows explains, a group of authors from across the world contributed stories for an anthology published to support the UK’s Macmillan Fund which provides nursing care for cancer patients being cared for in their own homes. I am proud to have had a story accepted for the second such volume which will be published later this year. I am also assisting with the final preparation of the volume.
“In 2015 my good friend and fellow author, Ian D. Moore invited members of our FB writing group the IASD (see www.indieauthorsupportanddiscussion.com) to write and contribute original stories for an anthology of short stories on the theme of Relationships in all their many and varied forms. The idea was born out of the author’s personal loss of a much loved close relative to cancer. See more
I didn’t set out to do this at first, but the notion of sharing one post each day from the many that arrive in my in-box seems to have grown on me. Some might say it’s a lazy way of blogging, but when there’s material to delight like this story from Sally Cronin’s collection “What’s in a Name” I can’t help feeling I’m providing a useful service.
I came across this post when its author followed me on Twitter and I followed back. As I may have mentioned before, I enjoy cycling and get out around the lanes of County Laois most Sunday mornings. This guy is a cycling and running enthusiast. And one day he had this great idea. If you have a bike you no longer use and it is capable of being upgraded in a similar fashion, why not have a go? If you are not up to doing the refurbishment yourself, maybe you know someone who can.
About 6 months after we arrived in Ireland the presenter of the early morning show on our local radio station left. Among the new voices that took his place was one with a very ‘posh English’ accent. But Robbie Donnelly did not do much presenting in the months and years that followed. He became the voice of promotional events. Indeed, in those first weeks, in the spring and summer of 2007, he would turn up at a randomly selected home each breakfast time to present, live on air, a prize to any householder who could show him a loaf produced by a particular well known Irish baker.
Originally from the Channel Islands, Robbie’s distinctive, friendly voice became part of the background to our new lives. One of the delights of local radio, perhaps especially for incomers like us, is the way you get to know something of the personal lives of the presenters and their support staff. Over the 10 years since we first heard him, Robbie we learned how Robbie got married and started a family. Because of his role in promotions, his face became almost as well known as his voice. I met him in person on a couple of occasions when I entered one or other of the crazy competitions he devised.
Around the middle of last year, we realised that his voice, ever present in commercials up until then, had disappeared. This morning we discovered why. Robbie came on to the mid-morning current affairs programme to talk to the long time presenter about the reason for his absence.
His and his wife’s third child, Harry, was born in May of last year with Down’s Syndrome. But that was not all. Harry also had respiratory problems leading to the need for a tracheostomy. And then the really bad news – Robbie’s youngest child has leukemia. He has never been home. The whole of Harry’s 17 months of life have been spent in one or other of Ireland’s pediatric hospitals.
Robbie and his young wife have to spend long days and nights at the hospital, too, whilst at the same time trying to hold things together at home for the two older children. Robbie told his story in matter of fact terms, with no great show of emotion. He and his family are living every parent’s worst nightmare. A nightmare compounded by the fact that they live 100 km from the hospital.
Home from Home
But that was not the reason for his appearance on this morning’s Midlands Today Show. He has been helped enormously by a facility called Hugh’s House. It’s a place where the families of sick children can stay over at no cost. The hospitals provide limited accommodation for parents, but this is not suitable for families. Hugh’s House helps to keep families together in a ‘home from home’ whilst one of their children is undergoing treatment.
To show his gratitude Robbie is undertaking a fund-raising walk in January. He will take a million steps that month. To understand what this means, most people will take around 6,000 steps in a typical day. Robbie will be doing five times that number every day in January. About 25 km each day, whatever the weather.
Now, I know that not all of my readers are based in Ireland and that many of you have your own favourite charities that you support. But this seems to me to be a particularly worthwhile cause. Maybe there’s a similar facility serving families who live near you who have a child undergoing long term hospital treatment. I urge you to seek it out and offer your support.
And for those of you who are in Ireland, here’s a link to the GoFundMe page where you can join me in supporting Robbie’s appeal.
One of the great pleasures of participating in the #atozchallenge has been the opportunity to look at what others have done with it. Over 1300 people completed the challenge so it would be impossible for any one individual to read them all. I have looked at a few – and intend to look at a few more over the next while. I’ll provide links to some I’ve liked and that you might like too. Here, in no particular order, are the first five.
The submissions from The Dublinhousewife.com take the form of conversations between husband and wife or wife and her friends, all in Dublin dialect. It’s a bit ‘Mrs Brown’s Boys’ meets Roddy Doyle and captures the various relationships well. In the process it manages to introduce comment on current events (check out Y for ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ for the day the verdict was announced from the Hillsborough inquest).
Damyanti Biswas used her 26 contributions to publicise the work of an education and support charity working in India called ‘Project Why’. Her stories about the volunteers and clients of the Project are truly inspiring and should live on long after April 2016 is forgotten.
Several writers used the opportunity to tease with quotes from their books, or to share some of the thing that inspired thee events or characters it depicts. Val Tobin is one of those, so is Yolanda Renee whose murder mysteries are set in Alaska. Her #atozchallenge posts evoke the Alaskan landscape and history very well.
Marjory Witt settled for 26 posts each exactly 67 words long and each relating to an obscure word. It’s fun to read and, with entries that short, doesn’t take long.
I’ll be back with 5 more #atoztreasures soon. Meanwhile I hope you enjoy this first selection.