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Providing financial assistance for critically ill children

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The Foundation

The Foundation – Patron Miriam O’Callaghan

Cliona’s Foundation is a registered charity set up by Brendan and Terry Ring, following the death of their daughter Cliona, from a brain tumour. Over the years, as Cliona underwent numerous different hospital treatments, Brendan and Terry were struck by the number of families, facing enormous financial hardship, on the brink of financial free-fall, blindsided by non-medical expenses piling up. They saw at first-hand the enormous toll it took on these families, already struggling to cope with the nightmare of having a seriously ill child. They decided to take action and set up Cliona’s Foundation, in honour of their daughter, a charity that uniquely provides financial assistance to families with critically ill children.

Since its launch, Cliona’s Foundation has raised in excess of €400,000 (with no Government funding) and has helped more than 140 families, including 40 families this year to date which was almost our total number of families for 2012. It is Brendan and Terry’s intimate understanding of the stress brought upon these families that explains the diversity of expenses covered by Cliona’s Foundation – from rent, food, utility bills to transportation for chemotherapy or alternative therapies, to a treat for a sibling and even covering the cost of a child’s funeral.

The ordeal of a child’s grave illness or injury tests families far beyond their endurance, taking an enormous toll emotionally, physically and financially. Cliona’s Foundation wants to help these families to cope and soften their heartbreaking journey, providing financial support, when all other resources have been exhausted.  Cliona’s Foundation believes that no family should have to face any added financial stress, when already struggling with the devastation and trauma of a seriously ill child.  No other charity inIrelandoffers financial support for non-medical costs which can amount to significant sums.

Cliona was loved and admired by all her family, friends, neighbours and the wider community for the courage and good humour with which she faced her illness and its treatment. Cliona loved life and loved people and Brendan and Terry, Cliona’s Mum and Dad, were encouraged by the strength of community spirit that Cliona inspired, especially the support shown at the mass to celebrate Cliona’s life which was held in early December in the days following her passing. There was a very strong feeling amongst friends and family that the way Cliona lived her life, enjoying every possible moment despite obstacles, could provide the inspiration for something that would help other families facing illness.

After Cliona was diagnosed with cancer in 1999 her parents discovered that, in addition to the emotional drain on families in their situation, even families with good medical coverage find that the lodging, food and other non medical expenses can prove quite a hardship for some families.

Cliona’s Foundation is a not for profit charitable organisation founded in 2007 to fill a great need: providing financial assistance for critically ill children in Ireland. Funds raised are not be used to pay for the child’s actual medical care; rather, donations are made to families for other “hidden” costs, including hotels, restaurants, petrol and other miscellaneous expenses incurred by families who must take sick children to hospitals or other medical facilities for frequent treatments.

The Foundation raises funds and disperses financial support to families in Ireland who have children diagnosed with serious illness. Specifically, the funds are to be used to defray travel, lodging, food and miscellaneous expenses associated with visits to hospitals or other treatment facilities.

Cliona’s Foundation is unique in that it focuses completely on non medical assistance for the entire family during a child’s treatment and recovery.

The goal of the Foundation is to improve the quality of life of children and families who are dealing with the trauma of serious childhood illness. The ultimate goal of the Foundation is to assist families in remaining intact and functional during their crisis and to endeavor that all the family members, friends and neighbours affected by serious childhood are helped and supported and no needs are left unmet for as long as needed.

Given the nature of this Foundation, even a little money can make a great difference. Your support would be greatly appreciated.

Miriam O’Callaghan has been appointed the first Patron to Cliona’s Foundation.