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Posted on Wednesday 10 May 2023
Pictured at the launch of Heart of Gold are Ireland and Leinster rugby player Ryan Baird; family carer Lynsey O’Donovan (top left) and her son Jack; Anthony Sheehan, Vice President of Global Supply Chain at Horizon; and Catherine Cox, Head of Communications and Policy with Family Carers Ireland. PHOTO: Mark Stedman
Wednesday 10th May 2023: Family Carers Ireland has launched its national fundraising campaign, Heart of Gold, which aims to raise vital funds to provide essential support and services to family carers throughout the country. This year Heart of Gold is proudly supported by Horizon and to mark the occasion, Ireland and Leinster rugby player Ryan Baird and family carer Lynsey O’Donovan and her son Jack attended the national launch event at Horizon Therapeutics plc, to show their support for the campaign.
Heart of Gold is a special fundraising initiative scheduled for 15th and 16th June, coinciding with Carers Week. The purpose of this campaign is to not only to raise funds for Family Carers Ireland’s critical programs and services, but to also raise awareness about the challenges faced by family carers like Lynsey and the O’Donovan family.
Supported by Horizon, the campaign encourages the public to support family carers by purchasing a Heart of Gold Pin from volunteers, hosting a coffee morning, signing up for the 50 miles in June Challenge, or simply donate on the Family Carers Ireland website www.familycarers.ie
The funds raised will be utilised to sustain the provision of essential services that family carers rely on to care for their loved ones safely. These services include the National Freephone Careline, counselling, respite, and local drop-in centres all of which are an invaluable lifeline for family carers. In addition, Family Carers Ireland facilitate peer support groups, social events, training, and carers' forums to help reduce carer isolation.
Speaking at the launch, Catherine Cox, Head of Communications and Policy with Family Carers Ireland said: "The Heart of Gold campaign is vital in enabling us to provide the support and services that family carers need to care safely for their loved ones. We are particularly grateful for the support of Ryan, Lynsey and Jack in helping us to raise awareness of the challenges that family carers face and the crucial role they play in our society."
“Caring for a loved one can be rewarding but it can also be difficult, frightening and isolating. It shouldn’t be. We want family carers to know they are not alone, and they have the support they need to care safely. Through our free supports and services, we work tirelessly to empower family carers to maintain a healthy and sustainable caring routine. That is why Family Carers Ireland exists and why our Heart of Gold campaign is vital. We urgently need to raise funds to ensure that we can continue to support over 100,000 families through direct services, respite, advice, crisis support, digital resources, and social media community support.
Ryan Baird, who has experienced the challenges of caring from his aunt’s caring role, said: "I know first-hand the difficulties that family carers face. I am really proud to support this campaign, as I believe family carers, deserve recognition, and crucially assistance. I urge everyone to join this campaign and contribute what they can, to ensure that family carers receive the support and resources necessary to carry out their invaluable work.
Lynsey O'Donovan, a family carer, and mum to Jack (20) who has quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy, is non-verbal, epileptic, PEG-fed and requires 24/7 care, added: "As a family carer, it's tough to find the time and energy to fight for the support and care that our loved ones need. We often feel forgotten and overlooked, and it can be a very lonely and isolating experience. If people could understand just how much we do and how much we need their support, it would make a world of difference.
“Over the years, Family Carers Ireland has been an immense source of assistance for us. During the Covid-19 pandemic, they proved to be invaluable. It was an exceptionally challenging period, perhaps the most difficult we've faced in all the years we've been caring for Jack. Fortunately, Family Carers Ireland was there for us, providing emergency respite and delivering essential PPE, which was a huge relief. Their support proved to be a lifeline for my family. That is why I am urging everyone to support this campaign to ensure that Family Carers Ireland can continue to provide essential support and services to carers like us."
Anthony Sheehan, Vice President, Global Supply Chain, Horizon said, “We are proud to support the incredibly important work done by Family Carers Ireland and to help them increase the reach of their critical services, which offer much needed assistance to carers across the country. At Horizon, supporting the communities in which we operate, with purposeful giving, is core to our business and we are delighted to support Family Carers Ireland in their work to transform and better the lives of those who need it most.”