Parents Eddie and Deborah Burns from Macroom, Co Cork, recently organised a charity fundraising event to celebrate the life of their deceased organ donor baby son, on what would have been his 18th birthday. Over €30,000 was raised with proceeds, divided equally, going to the Irish Kidney Association and the Strangeboat Foundation.
Deborah Burns, miraculously survived the serious head-on collision that tragically took her baby son Harvey’s life when he was just nine and a half months old, and while she was being cared for in hospital her husband Eddie had to make the profoundly selfless decision to donate their son’s organs.
To mark Harvey’s milestone birthday on the 17th September, the family organised a 4-course gala dinner which was held the night before at the Castle Hotel in Macroom with entertainment provided by the very popular band ‘Bog the Donkey’. A bumper prize draw with sponsored prizes including hotel weekends and other luxury items, generated additional funds.
In presenting cheques for the proceeds raised, to Eddie Flood the National Honorary Chairman of the Irish Kidney Association and Martina and Denis Goggin, founders of the Strangeboat Foundation, Deborah explained how significantly important it was for her and her family.
Deborah expressed her gratitude to everyone who contributed and made Harvey’s 18th birthday celebration a resounding success. She said, “our family was deeply moved by the unwavering support of friends and the entire community of Macroom, to commemorate Harvey’s life. The support we received for the Gala Night was incredible and we could have filled the function room four times over but for its capacity being limited to just 160 people. On the night organ donor coordinator Eimear Shields and her colleague Kathleen Tyrrell from Organ Donation Transplant Ireland gave a talk on the night inspiring everyone there to go home and discuss organ donation with their loved ones. Our focus with the event was to increase organ donor awareness and encourage more people to carry organ donor cards and I think we achieved that.”
“The fundraiser, which exceeded all our expectations with more that €30,400 raised, is a testament to the collective compassion of the community. It is fitting that the funds are divided equally between two worthy charities, both dedicated to promoting organ donation and transplantation, ensuring that Harvey’s legacy contributes to honouring organ donors and saving and improving the lives of others.”
Thanking Deborah and Eddie on behalf of the Irish Kidney Association on receiving a cheque for €15,224.38, it’s chairman Eddie Flood said, “As a kidney transplant recipient myself, I am humbled by your bravery and selflessness in continuing to help others following Harvey’s organ donation. Through your generosity and the support of your community, Harvey’s memory lives on, and his legacy of giving the gift of life endures. Celebrating his birthday served as a beautiful tribute to his life cut short but never forgotten, and is a reminder of the importance of organ donation in transforming tragedy into hope and giving life to others. We thank you and greatly value the funds you have raised for the Irish Kidney Association which helps us to continue to offer support to patients who have suffered organ failure and to promote the organ donor card.”
Speaking on behalf of Strange Boat Donor Foundation, Denis Goggin said how much he and his wife Martina, appreciated the extraordinary generous donation to their Charity and to the Circle of Life Garden, and thanked the Burns family, their friends, and the local community of Macroom for their remarkable support of the fundraising event. “This support”, he said, “is a testament to the courage of families who overcome the adversity of losing a loved one and be inspired by their memory to reach out so generously to society and to the cause of organ donation and transplantation”.
Eddie and Deborah Burns were among over 1,300 people who attended the Irish Kidney Association’s 38th annual Service of Remembrance & Thanksgiving in Mullingar Cathedral on 14th October where families of organ donors and transplant recipients come together to honour organ donors and celebrate the gift of life. At the Service Eddie Burns participated in an offertory procession and both Eddie and Deborah participated in a symbolic Service of light candle lighting ceremony remembering organ donors.
The Irish Kidney Association’s 38th Service of Remembrance & Thanksgiving will be broadcast on RTÉ One TV and RTÉ Radio 1 Extra on Sunday, 5th November at 11am.