Spirit of selflessness shines brightly as Mercy Stars are presented to individuals and groups who go above and beyond for the Mercy Hospital

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October 03, 2018
Spirit of selflessness shines brightly as Mercy Stars are presented to individuals and groups who go above and beyond for the Mercy Hospital
Friday, September 28th saw the spirit of selflessness shining brightly in Cork as the individuals, teams, and fundraising volunteers who go above and beyond for patients and colleagues at The Mercy University Hospital, were officially recognised at the Mercy Stars awards night, which was held in the Clayton Hotel, Lapps Quay, Cork City.
The Mercy Stars, organised by the Mercy Hospital Foundation and The Mercy University Hospital, celebrate those, who through their efforts make things a little easier for patients, and who help the Foundation invest in the Hospital’s services to ensure that The Mercy is at the forefront of the effective diagnosis, treatment and care of Mercy patients. Sponsored by Keanes Jewellers and Trinity, the Mercy Stars is one of the most highly anticipated events on the calendar of the Mercy Hospital.
Jerry Geary from Youghal was named ‘Mercy Stars Hero of the Year 2018’. Having battled with non-Hodgkin Lymphoma for six years, Jerry was motivated to help the Mercy’s Cancer Unit as he has witnessed first-hand the work being carried out by the staff in the cancer unit every day. To do that, he organised a team of cyclists from Youghal Cycling Club to cycle across East Cork in September 2017, raising €10,300 for the Mercy Cancer Appeal.
Kieran Coughlan was awarded the ‘Mercy Foundation Hospital Hero of the Year’. Every year Kieran volunteers his time with the Foundation and helps guide participants and supporters of the ‘Mercy Climb to Remember’ along the ascent and descent of the Galtees and Carrauntohill. An avid climber himself, he has often selflessly had to turn back to bring a participant who may not make the climb back to base. He does so with professionalism, and of course all the while having the craic!
‘Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year’ is Cobh man, Ger Burns, the man behind Ireland’s ultimate hillwalking adventure ‘The Great Island Four Peaks Challenge’ which he decided to undertake following his own cancer journey. In 2011, Ger’s father Tim was diagnosed with cancer; following this Ger and his brother Kieran decided to get checked and were themselves diagnosed with cancer. All three were successfully treated under Mr Paul Sweeney and his team at the Mercy University Hospital. Having received the all clear, Ger wanted to show his gratitude for the care and support they received. Ger started training with coach, James Walsh at Great Island CrossFit, and The Four Peaks Challenge was borne. Every year since 2016, over one weekend in June, Ger along with his family and friends scale some of Ireland’s highest mountains and thanks to the support of local businesses and the people of Cobh they have raised over €16,000 for cancer services at The Mercy.
‘Event Organisers of the Year 2018’ went to Jimmy Losty and John Pius Nolan, who together with the Irish Naval Service Fly Fishing Club organise the annual Doggie Keaney Fly Fishing Competition, with all funds raised going towards Men’s Health at the Mercy Hospital. This is a cause close to their hearts and the group of friends who have raised over €10,000 for cancer services since they started running this hotly contested competition.
‘Civil Service Heroes of the Year’ were the Armed Defence Forces at Collins Barracks.  There was special thank you to now retired Sergeant Major Jerry Dineen for his tireless work with the Mercy Foundation over the years and in particular the Kids Ward. In 2016 the Army hosted a special mission to Collins Barracks, putting smiles on the faces of young hospital patients. The residents of St. Anne's Children's Ward in the Mercy Hospital were treated to a very special VIP tour of the Barracks. Over the years the Army has hosted many coffee mornings and fundraising events raising thousands for the Mercy.
Kayla Landers from Cloyne was named as ‘Little Hero of the Year’. Last year at just seven years of age, the incredible Kayla donated her hair to the Little Princess Trust for children who have lost their lives through cancer treatment or other illnesses.  While doing this, Kayla also decided she would like to fundraise for the Mercy Kids + Teens Appeal, and she raised a phenomenal €2,068.
‘The Mercy Stars Workplace Fundraiser of the Year’ went to Merek Millipore. Since 2015, the staff of Merck Millipore in Carrigtwohill, have raised €4,700 for The Mercy Hospital Foundation’s POONS service. Shane and Basia O’Callaghan and Thomas Cahill, who all work for Merck, know all too well the benefits of the POONS service which allows children with cancer to be treated in the comfort of their own home, a service which their children Fabian and Tom availed of throughout their cancer journeys. Even during an incredibly difficult time in their lives they have encouraged their co-workers to give back to this service, the only service of its kind in Ireland.
‘Churchgate Collector of the Year’ was Caitriona McNamara from Rylane, who has been the hospital’s church gate collector at St. Olan’s Rylane & St John’s, Aghabullogue since 2010. Churchgate collections raise over €20,000 a year for the hospital.
‘The Face to Face Fundraiser of the Year’ was Nathan Ramage from Douglas. The Mercy Hospital has thousands of people all over County Cork and beyond giving €15 a month to support the hospital. This year these donors will collectively raise over €700,000 for the Mercy Hospital. Nathan’s fundraising work alone results in donations totalling over €52,000 a year to the Hospital.
The Mercy works with a number of schools and their energetic parents to raise funds and awareness for The Mercy Hospital in an effort to support the Hospital delivering in highest quality of care to its patients. St Brogan’s College in Bandon was named ‘School Fundraiser of the Year’ for 2018.  The staff and pupils of St Brogan’s College have raised thousands for the Mercy Hospital, and year after year their unyielding support and energy is amazing.
Hospital Award winners this year were the Physiotherapy Department (Clinical Team of the Year); St Catherine’s Ward (Ward Team of the Year); Catering Team (Support Services Team of the Year); and Medical Records Team (Hospital Services Team of the Year); while Marion Devine from Phlebotomy was awarded for her 40 years of service to the hospital.
Speaking at the awards, Micheál Sheridan, CEO, Mercy Hospital Foundation said “The Mercy Stars are an excellent way to recognise and honour those who really go above and beyond to support the work of the Mercy. The selfless dedication of all those who give of their time is an inspiration and it is really a testament to the the community ethos of the Mercy University Hospital, the People’s Hospital. It is this commitment which allows us to advance research, diagnosis, treatments and care of patients.”
Further information on all the night’s winners is available on www.mercyfundraising.ie.