James, Kevin and Aaron pictured this week at Carnaween
Olivia Mulhern is a beautiful young nine-month-old baby from Donegal town who has recently been diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA).
She urgently needs surgery in the USA which will cost over two million dollars - a figure that is cost-prohibitive to the vast majority of Irish parents.
However, without this treatment, Livie’s condition would deteriorate and it would be unlikely she would survive past her second birthday.
Her mother Karen said: “With the treatment in the States, it’s available up to the age of 2 years and because her condition is very progressive, her muscles will just continue to get weaker.
“We really are kind of fighting the clock basically and just want to do everything we can to provide the best quality of life for her.”
Livie’s poignant story has struck a chord with many throughout the country, including our own Daniel O’Donnell and other top entertainers as well as many of our prominent sportsmen who have all voiced their support.
However, three Donegal men have really been struck by this whole situation and are putting their all into it in raising more funds for this exceptionally deserving cause,
James McGroary from Drimarone, Kevin McBrearty from Mountcharles and Aaron Kyles, Dunkineely, who is with Declan Bonner’s backroom team, realising that a mammoth task lay ahead of the family in raising such a massive sum, decided that something really special was required in drawing attention to the family’s plight.
Karen and Keith Mulhern with their smiling little Livie
The lads have decided that they will scale Carnaween Mountain in Letterbarrow twenty times over 48 hours, which is in excess of the total height of Mount Everest.
This week, we joined them at the foot of the mountain as they embarked on their first training session. It was wet, misty, slippery underfoot and worst of all the midges were rampant but the lads were undeterred,
Aaron said; “We are all pretty fit and should be well able for it - mind you, it is 585 metres high so it’s not exactly going to be a stroll.
“We have no idea what the weather will be like in a few weeks’ time so we are going to have to condition ourselves for all eventualities.”
Asking James what had spurred him on to this initiative, he said: “Look there is a lot of sadness out there at the moment with the virus and when I heard about this awful situation I just said to the lads, let’s try and do something to help out.
“At the time we didn’t think it was going to take off like it has but little Livie has captured the attention of the country.”
Later in the evening the lads returned all in one piece but looking for some “midge” spray after practically being eaten alive.
The final destination - the cross from Dysart Cemetery which marks the summit of Carnaween which James, Kevin and Aaron will climb a total of 20 times
Kevin said; “We actually did it twice today so that really gives us great encouragement - after a fortnight of this we will be running up and down the mountain!”
The lads added that they have had great offers of support from the local community, as well as football clubs and walking groups, and were extremely grateful.
However, James commented: “With all the health and safety regulations in relation to Covid-19, we will be strictly adhering to social distancing without any large crowds gathering.
“Maybe when this is all over we can have some kind of a night for Livie in the Bluestack Centre.
“In the meantime, I would sincerely ask everyone to put their hands in their pockets and support the GoFundMe page
“It doesn’t matter how much, every penny counts.
“Two million dollars is a lot of money, almost €400,000 has already been raised.
“Donegal can do this.”
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