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Dawid begins first treatment thanks to donations

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By Michelle Crean

It was an emotional moment for one family as their son with complex needs began his very first treatment this week.

And it wouldn't have been possible without the help of school friends and the wider community who have helped with the huge cost.

Last week five-year-old Dawid Ciemny's parents Slawek Ciemny and Kamila Smietanska accepted a generous cheque of over €3,000 from his school pals and staff at Holy Cross Mercy School, where he attends the ASD Sunshine Class, after a number of fundraisers were organised.

Dawid suffers from a condition called Autoimmune Encephalitis which causes the body’s immune system to attack healthy brain cells. This week he began his first immunoglobulin infusion treatment in Poland with every session taking place six weeks apart and costing €5,000 each time.

Although originally given the diagnosis of Autism, his parents say it’s a lot more complex than that as Dawid is non-verbal and suffers from irrational anxieties and is in constant pain.

In November his parents, who live in Courtyard Killarney, set up a GoFundMe page 'The disease has taken control over Dawid !' and have so far raised €8,632 of a €50,000 goal.

With some of the funding raised online and that donated by the community through the school's fundraisers, it means that Dawid was able to begin his treatment.

Dawid's teacher Lucy O'Mahony said his father was deeply moved to receive a cheque for the sum of €3,375 from the staff and pupils of both the Holy Cross Mercy School and the Monastery School.

"He was enormously appreciative of the fact that such a large amount of money was raised for his son," Lucy told the Killarney Advertiser.

"Slawek found it difficult to adequately express the extent of his gratitude to the two schools involved. He was equally touched by the lovely cards from the children expressing their concern and well wishes for Dawid."

Dawid's mom Kamila said that they would like to thank everyone involved in fundraising.

"All teachers at the school did a huge job organising the fundraiser and we are thankful. Thanks for the massive support. We would like to thank the children and their parents for engagement to help Dawid. Thanks to people with huge hearts we can realise [the] next treatment plan."

The fundraiser is still open, she added.

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Killarney Triathlon Club’s open water swim on the lake

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On Tuesday evening last, members of the Killarney Triathlon Club took part in a breathtaking open water swim, starting from Dundag Beach and spanning the middle lake to a nearby island. Covering a distance of approximately 1.5 kilometers, the event saw all participants return safely, basking in a well-deserved sense of accomplishment.

Set against the stunning backdrop of Killarney National Park, swimmers enjoyed views of woodlands,  mountains, and Muckross House. Safety was paramount during the swim, as it is in all the club’s events. Essential precautions included the use of tow floats, safety kayakers, and safety boats, ensuring the well-being of all participants.

“Our club is incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by such a beautiful environment,” said Caitriona Shanahan, PRO of Killarney Triathlon Club. “The views during our swims are truly spectacular, and the safety measures we implement help everyone feel secure and enjoy the experience.”

Killarney Triathlon Club offers numerous benefits to athletes of all levels. These include structured training programs, expert coaching, group workouts and more. 

“We welcome all levels and abilities. Joining our club not only improves physical fitness but also offers great fun and the added benefits of stress relief from sea swimming. There truly is nothing like the calming effect of a group swim in the sea.” Caitriona added.

For those interested in joining the Killarney Triathlon Club, more information can be found on their social media platforms and their website, Killarneytri.com.

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Danny Healy-Rae welcomes decision to push back changes for cataract payments

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The Health Service Executive has deferred a move to cut the price it reimburses people for cataract treatments in the European Union and in Northern Ireland, under its overseas treatment schemes and a separate system for the North.

The prices were due to change from the start of this month, but the HSE has pushed the date back so that no one is disadvantaged, and to fully communicate with patients, treatment consultants and providers, cost changes will not come into effect until September 1.

The payments for less complex eye treatments were due to fall from €1,912 to €863 or the National Health Service equivalent of £766 in Northern Ireland. The most common cataract procedure payments were due to reduce from €1,456 to €1,171.

The HSE said that the vast majority of procedures fall into this new payment price. It said that the more complex glaucoma/cataract treatment payments will rise from €1,912 to €4,206.

Danny Healy Rae welcomed the news saying, “Following my representations and raising of this matter in the Dáil, I am glad that the HSE have agreed that they will continue to reimburse the higher rates for cataract procedure for those carried out up to the end of August 2024.

“I am advising anyone who needs to have their cataracts removed to do so now before the change to reimbursement amounts comes in.”

All cataract treatment carried out in Belfast after the 1st September 2024 will be subject to the new DRG rates.

Honouring the Kerry women of the revolutionary period

Kerry County Council is to invite expressions of interest next week for the commissioning and development of a commemorative and artistic piece which will honour the role played by women in Kerry during the revolutionary period between 1912 and 1923.

The project follows a joint motion by the five female members of Kerry County Council who called for the development and commissioning of a meaningful and lasting commemorative piece which would reflect the significant and diverse roles and activities of women and their involvement in the campaign for Irish Independence at the beginning of the twentieth century.

A Working Group, including the five female councillors, has been developing a design brief, and the Council intends to publish a detailed brief for the memorial next week and expressions of interest will be invited.

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