Donegal footballer Hugh McFadden is eager to see players use their position as a force for good as he and the rest of his team prepare to host a charity cycle to raise funds for ten-month old baby Olivia 'Livie' Mulhern.
Baby Livie has been diagnosed with a very rare and serious genetic neuromuscular condition called Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) which requires surgery in America at a costing of over $2,100,000.
The campaign is a similar one to the 'Do It For Dan' fundraising effort which helped to raise over €3million for baby Dan Donaher was also diagnosed with SMA, but sadly will be unable to receive treatment after contracting a virus which developed antibodies that would prevent the treatment from being successful.
The ‘Do it For Dan’ campaign have pledged €1million of their funds raised to ‘A Better Life for Livie’ and McFadden is hoping that this Sunday’s charity cycle can help to make up the €400,000 shortfall to send Livie to America.
This Sunday, McFadden and his team-mates will set off from nine different locations in Donegal and aim to all converge on McCumhaill Park, arriving at the same time, after stopping at all 39 football clubs in the county.
"The GAA community has shown over the last few months our endeavour to inspire the nation get in behind some great causes, as they did for the ‘Do it for Dan’ cause," he told 2fm’s Game On.
"I suppose us in Donegal over the Covid period, we found ourselves with a lot of free time on our hands.
"Myself and other members of the Donegal senior football team and management were banging our heads together on Zoom and other online platforms and we really wanted to do something special for Donegal and our supporters and the people of Donegal.
"When the ‘Better Life for Livie’ campaign came up it was really a no-brainer to throw ourselves in behind it and give it the full support that we could.
"A Better Life for Livie is the exact same campaign as the ‘Do It for Dan’, baby Olivia Mulhern is a ten-month old baby who has been diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy and that means her condition of living has deteriorated very much over the last few months.
On Sunday the Donegal Senior Team and I are doing a charity cycle to raise funds for baby Livie Mulhern. We'll set off from 9 locations and cycle to McCumhaill Park Ballybofey and, between us, we'll visit all 39 Donegal GAA football clubs. Please donate using the link in my bio. pic.twitter.com/RNnN2ripzr— Hugh McFadden (@HughMcFadden) July 15, 2020
"She needs urgent treatment in America that’s going to cost over €2million. I don’t know if it was highlighted a lot but the ‘Do It for Dan’ campaign couldn’t move forward and the Donaher family very kindly donated €1million of their funds raised for ‘A Better Live for Livie’.
"I suppose us in the Donegal senior football team see this as a massive opportunity to raise funds but also awareness to help the Mulhern family. They have about €400,000 to come together and we really want to raise awareness and raise funds over the next few days.
"You’re not supporting Donegal GAA, you’re supporting Olivia Mulhern and we want to be the catalyst to raise awareness for that."
On the pitch McFadden is preparing for a return to action ahead of the slow return of competitive games.
Donegal are scheduled to take on Tyrone in the Ulster Championship quarter final on the last weekend in October and while that’s still a long way off, McFadden is happy to be back training with his club and shaking off some of the cobwebs.
"I suppose now we’re back training for our clubs two or three weeks and we’re back in the swing of things but were getting excited over the first few nights, you were kind of like a kid on the first day of school," he said. I had my gear ready and I couldn’t wait to get up to our local field.
"It’s funny, the numbers in training have never been as big in rural Ireland. It’s the first time you’ve had everyone at home, people are working from home, colleges aren’t going on, you can’t go away on a J1, so it’s been really enjoyable.
"We’ve had 40 plus at all of our training and usually we’d be struggling for numbers so it’s really exciting. We’ve played a few friendlies in the last few weeks and we were probably a bit rusty in the first few days but it’s great to get back out playing."
Visit www.gofundme.com/f/teamdonegal4teamlivie to give your support to the #TeamDonegal4Livie campaign.