A PORTARLINGTON-based garda will lead up to thirty gardai in a charity parchute jump for to help raise funds for Our Lady’s Childrens Hospital in Crumlin which help save the life of his daughter last year.
Garda Gavin Tracy is organising the parachute jump in Clonbullogue, and has recruited 18 colleagues so far from Donegal down to Waterford, with high hopes for more. His reason for the fundraiser is his two year old daughter Lauryn, who underwent heart surgery at the hospital last November. Lauryn had suffered from a blockage which meant her heart was not receiving enough blood, causing her to actually lose consciousness at one point.
“They saved her life. The support we got not only from the surgeons but all the staff was fantastic. They comforted us and put us at our ease. They got us through it,” Garda Tracy told the Leinster Express.
The operation was a success, and Lauryn made it home just in time for Christmas with her delighted parents and big brother Brandon.
“She is like a new person, it has made a massive difference, she’s full of beans now”, her proud dad says.
The plucky little girl has a pacemaker fitted, one of the youngest children in the country to do so. She will need monitoring all her life, but her trials are not over yet.
Lauryn also has mild cerebral palsy and undergoes weekly physiotherapy in the clinic at Midlands Regional Hospital Portlaoise.
“She’s not walking yet but we are confident that she will walk some day,” said her father.
A professional scuba diver, Garda Tracy has never done a parachute jump before, but isn’t fazed at the thought.
“The scariest thing I’ve ever done was to wheel Lauryn into theatre and say goodbye, not knowing if she would come out, so I’m not scared of jumping,”
He hopes that each jumper will raise E500 for the hospital, through various fundraising events.
Posters will be up shortly with more details, meanwhile donations can be made through the Crumlin Medical Research website at www.cmrf.org/eventLocal/show/3867 and at Portarlington and Portlaoise Garda Stations.