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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.