And Why I Love Them.
First of all, Happy Christmas (I think we can safely say that now!)! Rather than create a blog post promoting the services of Atlanticus Digital or talk about Inbound Sales and Marketing, I wanted to do something different. As you will know, numerous charities in the UK and Ireland have been impacted this year. So, I wanted to highlight some fantastic charities to donate to this Christmas. I also wanted to speak about how they have supported me and my family over the years.
These charities regularly rely on donations and have been severely hampered by the COVID pandemic. So any help this Christmas would be greatly appreciated.
So, in no particular order, here we go:
The Children's Heartbeat Trust
The Children’s Heartbeat Trust are a charity based in Northern Ireland and have been working since 1984 to help provide emotional, financial support to young people and children living with heart disease.
The Children’s Heartbeat Trust’s vision is of “a society that provides high quality and inclusive clinical, practical and emotional support for heart families at each stage of their journey.”
Why the Children’s Heartbeat Trust Matters to me?
My son, also Niall, was diagnosed with congenital heart disease (TAPVD) when he was only 6 weeks old. As parent, it was a shock to find out this news about our child and the few months after his diagnosis were a complete nightmare.
Niall was flown over by air ambulance over to Evelina Hospital in London in February 2015 to have life-saving open heart surgery. The picture to the right was taken just before his open heart surgery. During this time, my family had enormous support from the Children’s Heartbeat Trust, including advice and counselling.
Thankfully, Niall is now a fit and healthy 6 year old boy and his surgery was corrective but we will never forget the Children’s Heartbeat Trust and we will forever support the charity. You can read more about our journey in this Belfast Live article.
How you can help
The Children’s Heartbeat Trust rely solely on donations and fundraising opportunities have been severely hampered to this year. To learn more about the Children’s Heartbeat Trust or to make a donation click here.
The Alzheimer Society of Ireland
The Society is Ireland's leading dementia specific service provider with over 100 services across the country. The charity’s advocates talk about how dementia should not be hidden and that people should speak about the issue openly.
The charity’s vision is an “Ireland where people on the journey of dementia are valued and supported.”
Why the Alzheimer Society of Ireland Matters to me?
My dad (pictured below) was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2018 and The Alzheimer Society of Ireland have been hugely supportive to my family (especially my parents) particularly during lockdown. There have been various events organised by them, including Zoom cafe conversations, online family support, dementia adviser webinars and other helpful resources to for families across the island of Ireland.
How you can help
There are many way that you can help the Alzheimer Society of Ireland including fundraising, volunteering, joining a branch network and donating directly via the charity’s website: https://alzheimer.ie/get-involved/become-a-friend-support-asi/donate/
. The number of people with Dementia will double in the next 20 years (Image Source: The Alzheimer's Society of Ireland)
Down’s Syndrome Association
The Down’s Syndrome Association (DSA) are a charity that provides information and support for people with Down's syndrome, their families and carers, and the professionals who work with them; to strive to improve knowledge of the condition; and to champion the rights of people with Down's syndrome.
Why the Down’s Syndrome Association matters to me?
My brother in law, Tony Lunny Jr (pictured below) is a special Olympian, staff member of St Patrick’s college in Banbridge and a proud member of the Down’s Syndrome community. Tony also competed in the Special Olympics in Antwerp winning a silver and three bronze medals for gymnastics.
The DSA have always been supportive to Tony and the family throughout his life and he attends social gatherings, activities and events organised by the Association.
Tony Lunny Jr, Special Olympian, Hero and Self-Confessed Friends fanatic!
How you can help
There are numerous fundraising activities you can plan to help the DSA such as corporate fundraising, runs, virtual fundraising and skydives. I don't think I could do the last one! To find out more about the fundraising ideas or to donate to the DSA visit here.
People with Down's Syndrome do not "suffer" from the condition (Image Source: Down's Syndrome Association)
Headliners empower vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people to have a voice working with young people in London, North East England and Northern Ireland.
Through their unique multi-media journalism programme children and young people research and produce stories for publication and broadcast about issues that concern them and campaign for change in their communities.
Headliners also has a superb learning programme that improves the educational and employment prospects for young people, brings young people together from different backgrounds and experiences to improve community relations and helps them make good choices in their own lives.
Why Headliners matters to me?
I have recently come on board as a Trustee/Director of Headliners and delighted to be part of their future journey. One of Headliners goals is to create a movement of people – new trustees, volunteers and friends of Headliners - getting behind young people in their area to help them achieve their goals. It's brilliant to be part of a diverse board which includes former participants of the Headliners programme.
Since Headliners started in 1994, they have worked with over 10,500 young people and they have produced more than 6,000 stories on issues important to them.
How you can help
Headliners has a number of fundraising schemes that include the Giving Machine, Amazon Smile and Give As You Live. You can also volunteer with Headliners. Volunteer roles include Project Volunteer, Fundraising Volunteer, Social Media Volunteer and Event Volunteer.
Cancer Focus NI
Cancer Focus Northern Ireland supports local cancer patients, their families and carers, funds cancer research and campaigns for better health policies.
Why Cancer Focus Matters to Me
I have had relatives that are cancer survivors and sadly some that have passed away from the disease. These Cancer charities work tirelessly to help and support cancer patients and their families to ensure there is a better quality of life, care and counselling.
How You Can Help
Like every charity due to the impact of the coronavirus and in the interests of public safety, Cancer Focus have had to postpone many of our fundraising events from March. However, you can view the charity's redesigned and rescheduled events here.
Cancer Focus Northern Ireland - Supporting Local People for 50 Years
Of course, there are so many other amazing charities that need your support this Xmas and you may have your own preferences. These are just a few that matter to me but due the devastating impact of the pandemic these charities need your support now more than ever.
Have a fantastic Christmas!