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Dawid begins first treatment thanks to donations




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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Top awards for innovative students

By Michelle Crean Killarney students proved that their projects can make a positive impact after being honoured at the Young Social Innovators of the Year Ireland (YSI) Awards. The five […]




By Michelle Crean

Killarney students proved that their projects can make a positive impact after being honoured at the Young Social Innovators of the Year Ireland (YSI) Awards.

The five members of ‘Operation Red’ in St Brigid’s Secondary School were celebrating this week after receiving a national Bronze Award for their project which is raising awareness about the lack of knowledge surrounding menstrual disorders. Their goal is to encourage open discussion on these issues, so no woman ever feels alone. The team will receive a prize bursary of €750, which can be put towards developing their idea and increasing the impact of their innovation.

Young Social Innovators is a non-profit organisation that believes in the power of youth. Its vision is to empower, equip and inspire young people to change the world for good. The girls’ project was one of 34 shortlisted from over 400 YSI groups around Ireland.

“As part of our project we’re in the process of developing resources for the SPHE classes in our school,” Transition Year student Anna Cashman told the Killarney Advertiser.

“We’ll try it here as a pilot project and branch out to other schools.”

She added that plans so far include educating students by putting an information booklet together using HSE and NHS advice.

“It’s important to have the right information as it’s a very under researched issue. We have had a positive response to it.”

Cait Fitzgerald Healy from YSI arrived to the school as a surprise to the group and presented the girls with their trophy towards the end of the online ceremony. There was huge excitement all round! Teacher and mentor Catherine O’Donoghue also received the ‘Let them Shine’ award for her involvement with YSI over the last five years.


Picking up the ‘Make Our World Safer Award’, a team from St Brendan’s College was recognised for its ‘One Punch Can Kill’ project, which aims to combat toxic masculinity and raise awareness amongst young men of the seriousness of ‘one punch attacks’.

When researching the issue, the team found that many perpetrators rarely reoffend and the percentage of male-on-male violence in society is extremely high. The group examined the route cause of the issue, which stems from a variety of factors, and wanted to raise awareness that spontaneous and random ‘one punch attacks’ can have serious and life-changing consequences.

Amongst its many actions, the team embarked on media outreach, designed and delivered student workshops, created a poster campaign, held an Anti Violence Week and is currently working on a children’s book in an effort to promote the important message that ‘One Punch Can Kill’.

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Pres footballers are in seventh heaven



The St Brigid’s Presentation Second Year footballers were crowned County Junior B champions on Friday last following a superb seven-goal victory over Mercy Mounthawk Tralee in the Ballymac sunshine.

The girls hit the ground running, bagging two quick goals from the boots of Lily O’Shaughnessy and Niamh Cantillon.

The Pres defence was solid and dogged throughout and managed to keep Mounthawk from breaching their goal for the duration. Abby Cronin scored three goals and a point to torment the oppostion and Niamh Cantillon scored a second goal plus a point to keep the Killarney school well in front.

Further scores from Muireann Healy and a final goal from Lara O’Neill gave us a final score of 7-4 to 0-11.

It was an excellent performance from the entire team, including the substitutes who all played their part. Captain Eve Culhane proudly accepted the cup on behalf of the team, and St Brigid’s, at the end of the game and joyous celebrations followed.

Congratulations to all the players and to their trainers: Mr Counihan, Ms Healy and Ms Brosnan.


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