In October 2020, three TY students from Strokestown, Co. Roscommon, took on a huge project as part of their transition year enterprise programme. They decided to restore a vintage tractor and raffle it off in aid of Childhood Cancer Foundation Ireland in their fundraising campaign ‘A Classic 4 Kids Cancer’.
The trio – Andrew Jordan, Jack Beirne and Mark Rogers, from Scoil Mhuire in Strokestown, managed to sell a staggering 6,612 tickets all around the country, were featured on RTÉ’s Nationwide in December, and received huge support locally.
We at Childhood Cancer Foundation Ireland were so proud when they were pronounced Connaught winners of the Electric Ireland GAA Minor Special Recognition Awards, in acknowledgment of their work for their community during Covid-19. They were also recognised by An Garda Síochána Roscommon/Longford Division Garda Youth Awards and have progressed to the national level of Garda Awards.
The boys restored a 1956 Ferguson 20 vintage tractor and raffled it off in January 2021 to raise just over €63,000!
The TY enterprise project encourages students to develop their own business ideas – preparing business plans and creating products or running events with a view to making a profit. In this case, the boys decided to donate any profits made to a charity that is special to them, as their teammate Jack is a childhood cancer survivor and has worked as an ambassador for the charity for a number of years.
“Making money is part of the enterprise project but helping other kids with cancer made it very easy for me and my friends to stay motivated to make this enterprise a success. I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) when I was three and my family spent three and a half years going up and down to Crumlin for chemotherapy,” explained Jack.
“I remember the long days that we would spend in the day ward, when my parents were trying to keep me busy and play with me while I waited to go down to theatre for my chemo. Now, thanks to Childhood Cancer Foundation Ireland, there is a Play Specialist on St. John’s Day Ward, helping children cope with the worries of being seriously ill, being away from home and having to go through so many procedures and treatments,” says Jack.
Andrew said the boys and their school were blown away by the support for the fundraising campaign:
“The restoration was a bit of a labour of love for us, although it was very hard work. We all love farming machinery and driving tractors and that’s how we came up with the idea in the first place. When we decided to turn it into a fundraiser, we never expected that we would raise this much money!”
Laura Cullinan, a voluntary Director with Childhood Cancer Foundation Ireland and a parent of a child who has also survived childhood cancer, said:
“What more can I say about these boys – they have been an inspiration from the moment they decided to pursue this project! We’re also thrilled that their efforts were recognised. They could have decided to keep any profit for themselves, since the aim of the enterprise project is to create a profit-making business idea. They have far exceeded any expectations we might have had when they approached us with their fundraising idea.
The current climate is extremely difficult for all charities, as normal events and fundraising campaigns cannot take place and we have to figure out how to move fundraising online, so these funds make a huge difference to our work.”