Irish and Polish communities unite to help Bantry's Oliwia

November 3rd, 2016 7:15 AM

By Southern Star Team

Oliwia is currently having treatment in Warsaw.

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Friends and neighbours have come together in Bantry to help a young girl who is undergoing treatment for bone cancer, writes Brian Moore

PARENTS, friends and neighbours have all come together in Bantry to help a young girl who is undergoing treatment for bone cancer.

Ten-year-old Oliwia (Olivia) Stanczak was diagnosed with bone cancer when a 5cm tumour was discovered on her hip. 

‘Oliwia, who arrived in Ireland from Poland when she was just four-months-old, complained to her mother about a pain in her leg a few months ago,’ Lyndsey O’Sullivan from Paradise Flower in Bantry told The Southern Star

Lyndsey, along with Ella Dzublco, and with the support of both the local and Polish communities in Bantry, have set out to help Oliwia and her parents, Agnes, her father Andrew and her brother Patrick (17) with the mounting medical and travel expenses. 

Oliwia urgently needed to have the tumour and her hip removed, and this presented a major challenge for the family.  

‘After the initial diagnosis here in Cork, it was decided that because of the seriousness of Oliwia’s condition, the need to clearly understand the doctors and the fact that the operation could only be performed in London, Oliwia and her mother moved back to Warsaw where both the operation and the follow-up treatment could be conducted in the same location, without any language difficulty,’ family friend Ella said. And so the community sprang into action. 

A series of fundraising events began, which included cake sales, coffee mornings, music evenings, poker nights, cheval rides, and a host of marathon runners signing up to run for Oliwia. ‘To date, we have raised over €18,000 for Oliwia,’ Lyndsey said. 

However, it was a concert held in Bantry last Friday evening that completely overawed the organisers and the Stanczak family. 

‘We decided to hold a concert with the pupils, teachers and Oliwia’s classmates from Our Lady of Mercy National School. 

‘We knew that we could expect a good turn out but on the night, we were amazed at the number of people who came along,’ Lyndsey continued. Over 350 people packed out the hall where the local Irish dancing groups, musicians and the pupils of Our Lady of Mercy held a concert for their friend. 

‘We raised just over €6,000 – an absolutely amazing amount of money,’ Lyndsey added. ‘We know that Oliwia’s family are completely overwhelmed at the response from the community in Bantry, and we want to thank everybody who donated, volunteered and supported the fundraising. We would also like to thank the local businesses for their donations of spot prizes for the raffles at the various events. 

‘It is always a very unique thing to witness the way the community here in Bantry comes together to help those who need it and we want to thank everybody once again for all they have done.’

To donate to, or to volunteer at, any of the events planned between now and Christmas, see Oliwia’s Go Fund Me page.

You can also contact the organisers on Facebook by searching ‘Help Oliwia fight with cancer’.

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