BY HELEN RIDDELL
A YOUNG mum from Bere Island has raised over €20,000 for the children’s ambulance service which helped her family’s dream come true.
Fiona Harrington and her partner Dwain Rodgers are parents to Willow who was born in March 2019 with a life-limiting condition. The couple live in Dwain’s homeplace of Kincasslagh, Donegal, but it had been Fiona’s dream to take Willow to her home on Bere Island for a sleepover with granny and granddad, her parents Colum and Ann Harrington.
In September that dream came true with the help of Bumbleance. Fiona explained how, as Willow is on oxygen, a long road journey to Cork was out of the question.
‘We heard about Bumbleance and they made it possible for us to take our daughter Willow from Donegal down to Bere Island to spend the night with her granny and granddad,’ she said.
Bumbleance provided a six-seater plane which picked up Willow, her Mum and Dad and her nurse from Carrickfinn Airport which is next to the couple’s home in Donegal and flew to Kerry Airport where they were met by the charity’s ambulance on the runway. The Bumbleance brought her to Bere Island and across on the ferry, which is run by Fiona’s father.
‘Bumbleance made our dream come true and for that reason I wanted to give something back,’ said Fiona. She came up with the idea of a swim as she says: ‘I wanted to do something that was a challenge but wouldn’t cost anything to do.’
She swam from Owey Island to Cruit Island in Donegal and raised over €23,000.
Her father Colum was one of the crew in the accompanying safety boat, but joined her in the water when they were half way across.
Having previously only really experienced sea swimming when she was working in Greece some years ago, this swim in the Atlantic was she says ‘different and challenging’.
Fiona had initially hoped to raise €1,000 for the charity, but to date she has raised €23,000 with the figure still rising. ‘It’s thanks to Bumbleance that we were able to bring Willow for a sleepover at her granny and grandparents.’
Donations can be made via www.justgiving.com/fundraising/fiona-harrington3