Sonia Daly and James Conway are pictured with their son Jamie Joe presenting £18,500 for their chosen charities.
A star-studded charity GAA football match, inspired by little Jamie Joe Conway has raised £37,000 for charity.
The game between an all-star Ulster GAA select and Ballinderry’s Ulster winning team of 2013, in November was held to mark the first birthday of Jamie Joe Conway and to raise vital awareness and funds to support Belfast based charity Children’s Heartbeat Trust and the Children’s Hospital in Crumlin, Dublin.
The event was organised by James Conway, the Ballinderry clubman and former Derry midfielder along with his partner Sonia Daly as their way of saying thank you for the support they received when their youngest son Jamie Joe was diagnosed with down syndrome and a heart defect.
Jamie Joe received life-saving heart surgery last year in Dublin and has made tremendous progress.
Sonia and James have been truly touched by the support they have received.
“The event exceeded all our expectations and we are very grateful to the whole community who got behind us and donated so generously. It has been amazing,” they said.
“We just wanted to raise awareness of two worthwhile charities and help other families, like ourselves, who went through the stress and worry of having a sick child.
"Never in our wildest dreams did we expect to raise so much, but we are absolutely delighted that this will make such an incredible difference to families in need of support.
“We will be forever indebted to the amazing medical teams North and South for their wonderful care of Jamie-Joe and we are delighted to be able to give back in his name.”
Children’s Heartbeat Trust and the Children’s Hospital in Crumlin both received £18,500 in donations raised from the event.
Lynn Cowan of Children’s Heartbeat Trust commented: “The response to Jamie’s Joe’s charity match has been incredible and we are extremely humbled by the support and generosity shown by the local community.
“Over 200 babies are born each year in Northern Ireland with congenital heart disease and the Children’s Heartbeat Trust provides practical, emotional and financial support to children, young people and their families affected.
“We rely heavily on public donations to fund our services, and are indebted to Conway Family and their local community for their tremendous contribution which will make a huge difference to families of children affected by heart disease.
“We are delighted to use the donations received to support families who have to travel outside of Northern Ireland for their child’s life-saving heart surgery to alleviate the strain and impact of having a sick child in hospital.”
Denise Fitzgerald, Chief Executive of Children’s Health Foundation added: “From all of us in Children’s Health Foundation and on behalf of the staff and families in CHI hospitals and urgent care centres, we would like to express our deepest gratitude to Sonia Daly and James Conway for helping to raise the vital funds for the Heart Centre in CHI at Crumlin to help give every sick child every possible chance to survive, thrive and live to their potential.
"We would also like to thank every person that supported this fundraising event– your generosity will make a real difference for sick children from all over Ireland.”
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