Almost every week, I receive a request from a reader asking us to feature or mention a charitable undertaking happening in their area. Often they are doing something themselves to raise money, but it could be a family member or friend or their whole parish.

The cause is never, ever unworthy of mention but at the same time, we cannot say yes to one without saying yes to all, which is unfortunately not possible.

This did not sit well with me so each month, starting this week , Anne will have a column in Living Life promoting the fundraisers happening in our communities.

A 2021 survey carried out by the Charities regulator showed that 90% of Irish people donated to charity in the year prior. The most common reason (48%) given was: “I like to help people who are worse off than I am.”


Large international aid agencies, all worthy causes, have TV advertising and celebrity endorsements with many supporters on direct debit. Community fundraising, however, is localised in most circumstances.

Groups have managed to extend their reach through online platforms such as GoFundMe. When this organisation published its 2021 report, it revealed Ireland was the most generous country per capita for the third year in a row.

There is one fundraiser not mentioned by Anne that I am going to give a shout out to here. I have heard Cara Darmody on the radio with her Dad Mark on a few occasions and I have been blown away by her every time.

Tomorrow (10 June) Cara will sit the junior cycle ordinary level curriculum in Maths. Aside from the fact that she is in fifth class and only 11, the reason for completing this challenge and her clarity in speaking about that is what makes her so remarkable.

Cara’s two younger brothers, Neil and John, are both non-verbal with autism. She attends Ardfinnan NS and the boys attend Scoil Chormaic Special School. All monies raised are going to the schools. (

She writes on her page: “Our family are friends with so many other families that cannot get services such as speech and language, occupational therapy, play therapy and psychology. It really annoys me that nobody is doing anything about it.

"These kids are at a disadvantage due to the lack of services. So I want to do something about it. I want to raise money to give everyone the same chance. We need the money to help ... right now.”

She explained that publicly she would not be seen for years and even private waiting lists were long.

Last year, my daughter’s teacher called us to a parent-teacher meeting to advise that our child could benefit from some of these same external services for her anxiety.

I said, “Yes, sign her up”, to which she hesitantly asked if there was any chance she could be taken privately. She explained that publicly she would not be seen for years and even private waiting lists were long.

I went about making this private appointment in June of 2021, calling three places before securing a time. My daughter was seen in February of 2022. The therapy cost €1,000.

I am not suggesting for one second that the intervention was not worth the money. I am merely pointing out that private treatment is not accessible for many families publicly or privately.

Parents and campaigners are working tirelessly to change the way we support our vulnerable children with little change. Let’s see if the Government will listen to an 11-year-old instead.

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