"Little Wishes" was the brainchild of Nida Collins, local photographer and breast cancer survivor. "After my experience with cancer over 9 years ago I decided it was time I did something to give back." While going through my cancer journey I remembered the little things the family, friends and neighbours would do for me while I was going through treatment; small things like cleaning the house, doing some ironing or just coming in for a cuppa and a chat about anything except cancer. Since my treatment I has become very active and loves to run every day, so I thought about organising a Fun Run on 21st October 2012, which is breast cancer awareness month. All the money raised would be used to give little treats to local people with cancer. So on the 27th September 2012, I got a few friends together to help to plan, organise and promote this fun run. A Facebook page was created by Collette Mooney and an event posted to try and reach as many people as possible.
We had a meeting a week later, we decided to make it a 5 mile run as it's a popular route in Edenderry and we took some promotional pictures, with some pink wigs and fairy wands to support breast cancer awareness, outside JoJo's Hairsalon. These photos were sent to all the local papers to get the word out about the Fun Run. Promotional posters were created and printed by Paula Murphy of All Inks Stationary and posted up around the town, and tied with pink ribbons. Nida wanted to promote the FUN in Fun Run so asked that people wear their bras on the outside or come in fancy dress. To encourage the fun factor we also decided to allow children to enter for free. Nida contacted all the local schools and got the Ty students of Oaklands Community College and St Marys Secondary School to create some motivational posters to place around the route. The students of The Acorn Project students held a football tournament and donated the money raised to the Little Wishes fund. The Gael Scoil organised a group of students to cheer on the crowd on the last mile so it was much appreciated. Scoil Muire Banrion also showed up on the day to encourage the runners and show their support. Josephine McCann of Jojo's Hairsalon held a Pink Friday in the salon and kindly donated to the Little Wishes fund. Mark and Michelle Murphy also held a fundraiser from the Billy Murphy Memorial Fund and kindly donated to Little Wishes fund.
Word about the Fun Run was getting around and lots of people contacted us about how they could help out on the day. Ideas were coming in and soon we had a full day of activities planned. We would have singing during the registration, face painting for the children, a speech by Nida, a balloon release for lost loved ones, an uplifting Zumba dance, the race start and the at the end, some more entertainment. Edenderry GAA contacted us to offer to do the face painting, and also made a donation. Stephanie and Pauric Groome of Bargains Galore (the Square 046 977 2487), kindly offered to provide the balloons and helium for the balloon release. Clare and Con Forde of Grab a Cab offered a lift to anyone who wasn't able to do the run to take them around the route. Edenderrys own Mrs Brown, Malcolm Cleary, also ran and dressed up for the occasion. Will Falkner and his wife, of Midlands 103fm also joined the fun run to support us.
Tommy O Grady (046 973 0026) provided us with a lorry for the performers on the day of the Fun Run, free of charge. Mag Brady contacted us and offered to sing some songs during registration, and she sang the beautiful song Angel as the balloons were released. There wasn't a dry eye around by the end of the song, it was so emotional for everyone. Sabrina Cappocci of Zumba Belle, contacted us after recently losing her father to cancer, she was delighted to organise a group of her dancers to perform just before the race start. She also gave a free class for anyone who wanted to perform on the day and it was an uplifting performance. Ger Considine, Fruit & Veg Shop, also donated fruit for the runners for the end of the Fun Run.
Offers of help were coming in fast, so we had everything organised for the big event, we had a mascot, Mickey Mouse organised, balloons ready, numbers ready, the route planned, the fire brigade on hand and we had stewards around the route to direct runners and traffic, we had our registration forms and all hands were ready to help. It was a nervous few minutes as we waited for people to arrive, we estimated around 60 participants but we got more than 200. It was a fantastic day the weather was beautiful and the crowd arrived. Some people bought balloons for their lost loved ones and some were just there to run. Everyone looked fantastic as they all wore bright colourful clothing, wigs, tutus and a few wacky costumes too. It was a great day and everything went to plan, and everyone had fun, while raising money for Little Wishes.
After the Fun Run we had raised almost €2000 from entry fees and sales from the balloon release, which was fantastic, so much more than we had anticipated. So we had another meeting, where we created some thank you cards, little wish cards, and set up how we would grant these little wishes. In the weeks after the Fun run, more and more people contacted Nida to give donations to the fund. Soon the fund reached €3100, from donations of anything from €5 to €300. We were amazed by the generosity of the people of Edenderry, despite the economic recession. Nominations for recipients of the Little Wishes were flying in. We met each week , and gave ourselves the name of Fairy Godmothers as we delivered Little Wishes to an average 8 people per week and after helping out as many people as we could funds started to run low.
So we decided we needed to fundraise again. As it was almost Christmas we decided a coffee morning would be a good idea, as people would be out shopping and could call in to warm up from the cold weather outside. We discussed where the best place to hold this would be, we contacted Eugene Byrne Auctioneers and asked them if they had a shop premises not being used to lend us for the day. They were only delighted to help and offered us a large shop unit, in the centre of town and said we could have it for a few days. We decided then that maybe a two day event would give more people a chance to call in and donate to the fund. We all organised friends and family to bake bread, cakes and buns, so there would be no cost. Only the tea/coffee/milk would have to be paid from the funds raised, as the fairy godmothers would take turns running the café.
Paula from All Inks again helped out with the promotional posters that we put up in each shop, and Fugifilm kindly printed larger posters that we would put in the shop windows. Nida came up with the idea of calling it the Karma Café, and contacted some local healing therapists to come and offer some therepies on the day. Some people even donated prizes that we could raffle off, we started with about 4 and ended up with 13 prizes on the day. We decided not to charge for tickets, just give them to anyone who donated to the café. We decided not to set any prices for the café, and just ask for donations. We met up and decorated the shop in our own style, helped by Aileen Abbott, and we made the shop unit look homely and welcoming. The Karma Café was held on the 7th and 8th of December 2012. It was again another success, lots of people donated cakes and buns. It was great as lots of people stopped by to say hello and just have a look, or enjoy a free therapy from one of our therapists.
Some people just walked in and donated, without wanting to purchase anything. We even had to make take-out bags and borrow take-away cups from Bradys Centra, as so many stopped by on their lunch breaks from work. Each of the fairy godmothers took it in shifts to run the café, so we wouldn't wear ourselves out. Both of the days were very successful and we raised just over €1300. Again we were amazed at the generosity of the people of Edenderry, by donating cakes and buns, they saved us from having to purchase them, and by giving so generously to the donation boxes while they enjoyed their cups of tea or coffee.
The generosity of the people in Edenderry has kept the Little Wishes fund going and we have helped so many people young and old, since we began in early October 2012. We have given therapy vouchers, restaurant vouchers, beauty vouchers, cinema tickets, rugby tickets, bingo cards, Adrians Pets voucher, where possible we use local businesses, so the money raised in Edenderry goes back into Edenderry. We hope to hold more events in the future and are planning a Jazz Café during the summer and to make the Fun Run an annual event. We hope to keep Little Wishes Comfort Fund going and to hopefully one day be in a position to grant a few big wishes too!