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Community rally to save Alannah’s sight

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GRATEFUL: Parents Geraldine Dunleavy and Andrew Foley, pictured with one-year-old Adam and four-year-old Alannah, are grateful to the community for their support as Alannah undergoes weekly chemotherapy.

By Michelle Crean

The Killorglin community are rallying to help a local family whose little girl is facing chemotherapy to help save her sight.

Four-year-old Alannah Foley is facing weekly trips to Dublin after being diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1), a condition that can cause benign tumours to grow on nerve tissue. In order halt the growth and stop it pressing on her vision her mom Geraldine Dunleavy and dad Andrew Foley are facing weekly trips to Tralee every Thursday to UNiversity Hospital Kerry for blood tests followed by a long trip to Dunlin each Friday.

Originally Alannah and her family were to make the trip to Cork for the treatment but due to her first round taking place the day of the cyberattack they couldn't get their scheduled appointments at the Mercy Hospital.
And facing the cost of travel to Dublin which will last over over a year, their good friend Kevin Sheehan set up the GoFundMe: 'Alannah and Polly's Fight for Sight' page which has so far raised over €12,000 of the €20,000 goal.

At five-months-old Alannah's parents noticed marks on her body called Cafe au Lait stains, indicators of an underlying illness.

After a trip to the GP they were referred to a neurologist in January 2019. And over that summer Alannah started to appear wobbly and dizzy. She was referred to Cork from her GP and two days later had an MRI which was diagnosed as a tumour which had a build up fluid on her brain. After further testing it turned out to be benign and she was fitted with a shunt to drain the fluid away from her brain down through her stomach. Her parents were advised that the best course of action was to watch and wait.

"We were stunned. It meant trips to Dublin every three months for eye exams, then 10 days later MRIs and 10 days after that travelling up for the results," her mom Geraldine told the Killarney Advertiser.

"When she had her last eye exam they felt it was impacting on her eyesight and opted for chemo."

Andrew, a chef, works as the deli manager in Keane's SuperValu in Killorglin and Geraldine works in childcare part-time. They also have a one-year-old son called Adam.

"we're only at the start of it really," she said. "Polly, Alannah's port, got fitted the day of the cyber attack which meant she could not be put on the system in the Mercy Hospital."

The couple, who live in Lynch Heights, head to Dublin every Friday leaving home at 5.30am and it's a late journey home as they get stuck in evening traffic. With the cost of travel and other expenses, Kevin opted to help out.

Geraldine said that she and fiancee Andrew are overwhelmed by the support of the community.

"We're blown away by the support we've received. People keep stopping and asking us how she is and the kindness has been overwhelming."

They're hoping Alannah will be finished her treatment successfully by August or September 2022 before she starts Junior Infants.

"She's a trouper. She does get tired over the weekend and struggles a bit after the treatment but she ends every day with a smile on her face."

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The tax you’re really paying for your health

By Brian Foley from Activate Fitness With the budget just squared away, there’s always an air of “how did I do out of it?” In Ireland, we enjoy a public healthcare system which is touted to become a universal healthcare system. Maybe “enjoy” is the wrong word. We have it, and we use it, and, […]

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By Brian Foley from Activate Fitness

With the budget just squared away, there’s always an air of “how did I do out of it?”

In Ireland, we enjoy a public healthcare system which is touted to become a universal healthcare system. Maybe “enjoy” is the wrong word.

We have it, and we use it, and, of course we pay for it. We justify the constant ratcheting-up of our tax burden to pay for rising health-care costs. That tax is on our wallets.

We also pay another type of tax: When we’re unhealthy, we don’t get to do the things we like. When we’re overweight, we don’t always say “YES!” when our kids ask to go to the swimming pool.
When we’re unfit, we don’t take our buddy’s invitation for a weekend hiking and camping trip. We can’t start jogging because our knees hurt; can’t lift weights because our back hurts; can’t cut down calories because we feel we need the energy.

Those things are taxes. Physical taxes, but they’re not the worst taxes we pay.

The worst tax we pay is the mental tax.

When we’re self-conscious about our fitness or health, we don’t want to start exercising. We don’t want to look dumb or fail.

We don’t want to start a new lifestyle because our families will say “good for you”, because they know we need it, or they’ll say “you don’t need that …” and lie. Or they’ll roll their eyes because they know we’ve failed before.

When we’ve been away from the gym for four months, we don’t want to do that first workout because we’re going to be last. It’s going to suck and we might get embarrassed.

SELF IMPOSED TAX

The Government makes us pay financial tax, but the other two – physical and mental – are self-imposed.

No one cares if you’re slow.

No one cares if you finish last.

No one cares if you blow your nutrition this week and have to start all over again.

You’d stop caring about what others thought about you if you realised how rarely they actually do.

Everyone thinks about themselves, mostly. That’s the tax they’re paying – and most of us overpay.

We’re taxed enough. Stop worrying about what you look like and start caring about what makes you feel good.

If you’d like to start taking steps in the right direction with your health and fitness, call in for a free consultation with us at Activate. Visit www.activate.ie/free-intro for more information.

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Tractor run raises €500 for charity

By Sean Moriarty Members of Killarney Valley Vintage and Classic Club raised €500 for the Kerry Mental Health Association during their first tractor run since April 2019. 30 tractors took part on Sunday including two rare Ford 3000s from 1974 and an even rarer Zetor Crystal from 1980. Departing from the club’s new ‘Vintage Shed’ […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Members of Killarney Valley Vintage and Classic Club raised €500 for the Kerry Mental Health Association during their first tractor run since April 2019.

30 tractors took part on Sunday including two rare Ford 3000s from 1974 and an even rarer Zetor Crystal from 1980.

Departing from the club’s new ‘Vintage Shed’ on Lewis Road, the convoy travelled to the communications mast near Coolick in Kilcummin, where participants enjoyed views of the wider Castleisland district and Killarney Valley.

“Some of the drivers were never up there before and they were amazed with the views across the two valleys,” organiser Tom Leslie told the Killarney Advertiser.

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