Walterstown GAA Club ‘Solo for Siún’ challenge
“It takes a village to raise a child” is a well-known quote that pays homage to the extended family and friends in a child’s life who help mould them into the person they grow up to be. When childhood illness threatens the life of a child, extended family and friends rally around and in many cases so too does the entire community. Walterstown GAA club in County Meath rallied all of its players and supporters to fundraise for ‘Solo for Siún’ – an amazing challenge to do 27,714 solos to raise vital funds for CHI at Crumlin in honour of five year old Siún Foy who is battling leukaemia.
“When we all heard that Siún was ill, we were gobsmacked. It kind of gave us all a jolt,” says Ruth Chambers, Public Relations Officer with Walterstown GAA Club, “Siún and her family are such a massive part of the club. Her Mum Orla and her two sisters play football for one of our teams, Siún herself obviously plays and her Dad Chris coaches two teams. It was kind of a no brainer for us to try to give something back. We went to the Foys and they were very adamant that they didn't want anything raised for themselves but that they would love if we used Siún's name to raise funds for Crumlin.”
One of the things that really stands out in the ‘Solo for Siún’ challenge is the amazing support and shout outs it has received on social media. From RTÉ Operation Transformation Physical Trainer Karl Henry to Dublin Footballer Ciarán Kilkenny to Olympic Gold Medallist Boxer Michael Carruth, the list goes on!
“We just called in a few favours from other members and friends who might have known someone here and there, someone famous. To be fair to any of the famous faces who have supported us this far it was no big deal for them to do it. They were all so obliging, and you know when you're raising money for medical research and Crumlin Children's Hospital it's a no brainer to support it.
On July 25th, the day after Siún's sixth birthday some adult members from our teams are going to solo 24km the distance from our club ground to our County ground in Navan, which is called Pairc Tailteann. Then they're going to come home via a different route. They will solo the ball for 24km like a relay for 500 metre stretches per person, and then all the juvenile kids in the club - that's our under five year olds all the way up to under 15 year olds, between them they are going to do 27,714 solos from home. They're going to send us in the videos. That number is actually Siún's date of birth 27th of July 2014.
We also have a raffle planned, and some great sponsors behind us. MDI Medical are giving us a sizeable amount and they are our main sponsor. They're also helping to cover any costs associated with hosting the event on the 25th July too. Keep an eye on Walterstown GAA social media accounts because there are bigger and better surprises to come!
At the moment even though Siún is undergoing a lot of treatment, she's in really good form. Hopefully she will be well enough to pop down on the day, and do the last lap with her Dad who I think is doing the last 500 metre stretch.
We set up a special committee just for this fundraiser, and all hats off to them they're real doers so hopefully we reach the target and get even more money in. We're going well with a few weeks left, and we're already more than half way there. The GAA community is a really close one, and I think when everyone heard that one of our members and families was going through this and that they wanted to raise money for Crumlin everyone just got together and got it done.
The GAA club is called Walterstown, and our parish is called Johnstown and Walterstown. One side of the parish is quite urban while the other side of the parish is quite rural so we have a good mix of different people. Even though there is that rural/urban divide there, the GAA is such an amenity for everyone no matter where you come from. It's been really hard with the pitches being closed because kids even recreationally during the day would just cycle down during the summer holidays to kick a ball and they couldn't do that during the lockdown.”
With your support we will continue to do #WhateverItTakes
To find out more about Walterstown GAA Club ‘Solo for Siún’ challenge and to donate click the following link: https://www.gofundme.com/f/solo-4-siun-in-aid-of-crumlin-children039s-hospital?utm_source=customer&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet&utm_medium=copy_link-tip