The Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association rely heavily on financial support from the public to assist families throughout Ireland and two of their most intrepid fundraisers are local women Eileen Boland and Fran Sheehan.
Both women know full well how invaluable the IMNDA are when families are in the most dire need and the energetic duo have dedicated themselves to raise funds running marathons , jumping out of planes and earlier this year Eileen was “married” for the cause at an event that raised a staggering €130,000 for the IMNDA.
Next Wednesday(June 20th) morning the fundraising combination of Fran and Eileen, who will be meet with her ‘groom’ Tom O’ Connor again on the day , will welcome representatives of the INMDA to Clonmel for a tea morning at O’ Gormans Bakery (10.30am).
The following day Thursday is the national Drink Tea for MND day , and it is also the fifteenth anniversary of the passing of Charlie Boland, Eileen’s husband from Motor Neurone disease.
The granny, well known as a stalwart Moyle Rovers GAA club administrator for decades, said they were delighted to welcome the IMNDA to Clonmel for the first time.
“My husband Charlie lived with Motor Neurone for seventeen years before passing away at the age of 66.Without the help of the IMNDA we just would not have been able to cope as a family.It is absolutely horrific to watch a loved one going through such a cruel disease and I know just how much families in that situation need that vital support” said Eileen.
Since 1992 Eileen has organised cake sales , table quizzes and all sorts of events. Beside her all the way has been her friend Fran who lost her daughter in law Noreen at the age of forty two to Motor Neurone Disease.
“I could not have nursed Charlie at home were it not for the IMNDA.They were absolutely brilliant to me” said Eileen who has also absailed in Croke Park to raise funds.
“I just want to give something back” said Eileen.
Last February Eileen took part in one of the biggest fundraising events ever held for the IMNDA, a mock wedding.Eileen volunteered to be the bride on the day and she was married to Tom O Connor whose daughter Bernie Walsh was one of the main organisers.
Eileen and West Cork man Tom, who lost his wife Breda to Motor Neurone, were married by well known Clonmel ‘cleric’Fr.Declan Dunphy in the Firgrove Hotel in Mitchelstown.
“It was great fun. The generosity of people was just beyond belief. An incredible sum of money was raised, €130,000 , and the support I received around Clonmel and beyond was just amazing” said Eileen.