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Former Laois footballer and son set to dye hair in aid of ‘Do It For Dan’

A former Laois footballer and his eldest son have launched their own fundraiser in aid of little Dan Donoher.

Billy Sheehan, who soldiered in the blue and white of Laois alongside Dan’s father Niall from 2009 to 2015, will bleach his hair blonde on Easter Sunday alongside his son Timmy.

The pair have set up their own GoFundMe page and 7-year-old Timmy explained why they are doing it.

He said: “Dan is a one-year-old little boy who needs to have an operation in America.

“So me and my dad are going to dye our hair blonde on Easter Sunday for Dan.

“We need to raise €2 million and we need everyone to help us.”

Prior to the outbreak of the Coronavirus, Timmy and Billy were travelling around Ireland in an attempt to solo a football outside as many club grounds as they could to try raise money for Dan.

They visited John Mitchel’s, Dr Crokes, Fossa, Ardfert (All in Kerry), Father Casey’s (Limerick), Cratloe (Clare), Sixmilebridge (Clare), St Jude’s (Dublin) and St Anne’s (Dublin) among others to spread Dan Donoher’s story but unfortunately the virus pandemic put an end to their travels.

So now, the pair will dye their hair instead and are hoping to raise as much money as possible.

Billy and Timmy Sheehan

A massive fundraiser was launched for baby Dan Donoher on March 5, son of Niall and Aisling Donoher from Ballybrittas, who has been diagnosed with a rare life-threatening disease.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for the little boy with a genetic neuromuscular disease called Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Type 1 and Scoliosis.

A breakthrough treatment is available in the USA and to meet the cost, a target of €2million has been set.

Timmy and Billy Sheehan

The reaction to the fundraiser has been huge with €548,000 raised so far from more than 16,000 different people.

People are not just raising money but awareness too as people are sharing the GoFundMe page on multiple social media platforms.

Timmy Sheehan

Dan’s parents Niall and Aisling (Nee Quigley) are very well known in the Laois GAA community.

Niall represented Laois footballers at all levels until his retirement at the end of the 2018 season while Aisling, originally from Timahoe, played for the Laois ladies team for a long number of years too. The couple live in Jamestown, on the old main Dublin Road near Ballybrittas.

Timmy and Billy Sheehan with Ross Munelly

Dan was diagnosed with this disease last December at the age of 8 months.

The life expectancy of an SMA type 1 child is 18-24 months.

A ground breaking treatment called Zolgensma is currently only available in USA and costs 2.1 million dollars for a once off infusion.

Timmy and Billy Sheehan

Studies show that Zolgensma can substantially improve quality of life and survival of this horrific disease.

This treatment is only available to children under the age of two and who meet the requirements.

Timmy and Billy Sheehan

Dan currently qualifies but “we are against the clock” his parents explain.

About one in every 11,000 children are diagnosed with SMA. It had been incurable, but with this wonder drug on the market it offers Dan a chance at improved or even a normal life.



Billy Sheehan with his son Timmy after Laois beat Carlow in Dr Cullen Park in 2015
Laois player Billy Sheehan celebrates with his 11-week-old son Timmy after Laois beat Monaghan in the 2012 All Ireland football qualifier in O Moore Park

SEE ALSO – HSE release stats on Coronavirus in all hospitals including Portlaoise

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.