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Big-hearted bank staff take on challenge to help Donegal baby

Staff will walk or cycle the distance linking their 13 Donegal branches

Baby Livie Mulhern

Donegal Town Bank of Ireland staff take on 389km challenge for Baby Livie

The team at Bank of Ireland in Donegal Town are planning to walk or cycle the 389km that link their 13 branches across Donegal.

This challenge is a fundraiser for baby Livie Mulhern, the Donegal Town tot who needs €2m to travel to the US for treatment for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Type 1.

Having heard of the Mulhern family’s plight, the Bank of Ireland staff felt compelled to help little Livie.

Branch Manager Shane Browne said: “It was something we decided to put together as a branch. We just wanted to do our small piece. 

“How it will work is myself and my colleagues will walk or cycle 389km and we will track it on GPS. I am undertaking the final stage myself, cycling 60km from Donegal Town to Bundoran and back.”

Bank of Ireland’s 13 Donegal branches are: Ballybofey, Ballyshannon, Bunbeg, Buncrana, Bundoran, Carndonagh, Donegal Town, Dungloe, Falcarragh, Glenties, Killybegs, Letterkenny, Moville. When staff across the county heard about the plans of their Donegal Town colleagues, many expressed a wish to get involved.

“It is really starting to grow,” said Mr Browne. “A lot of colleagues are interested so we may extend it.”

Anyone who wishes to support the bank staff in this fundraising challenge can make a donation in the Bank of Ireland, Donegal Town. Alternatively, they can do so online on the gofundme page BOI Donegal Town 389km Challenge For Livie.

“I know a lot of people have already contributed to various events for Livie. They have been very generous to date.  But even if people have already donated they can still help by sharing our event with family and friends."

Livie's Story

Livie Mulhern was born on August 29, 2019 bringing immeasurable love and joy into the lives of first-time parents Karen and Keith. 

Over time, misse developmental milestones led to concerns that all was not well, and on April 9 their worst fears were realised. They received the devastating news that Livie was suffering from spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) type 1. 

SMA is caused by a gene deletion which results in deterioration of Livie’s nerve cells connecting her brain and spinal cord to her body’s muscles. There is no cure and Livie has its most severe type. Muscles used for crawling, walking, sitting up, moving her head, and even swallowing and breathing are becoming progressively weaker and shrinking. Without any treatment, little Livie’s condition would continue to deteriorate and it would be unlikely that she would live past her second birthday. 

The best hope for Livie is a once-off gene therapy called Zolgensma which is available in the US and requires fundraising of €2m. 

The response has been phenomenal, but Livie’s condition is deteriorating all the time and the sooner she gets treatment, the more effective it will be.

All support for this and other fundraisers is greatly appreciated.

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