Providing help for young Leitrim mother and baby in New York

Fundraiser in New York on Sunday, February 11

Longford Leader Reporter

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Rory's Dolan New York to host benefit night for Drumkeerin's Lisa Cullen

Major fundraising event for seriously ill Tarmon woman, Lisa Cullen and her baby daughter, Kayden.

New York based Mullies man Frank Brady is one of the chief organisers of a major fundraising event for seriously ill Tarmon woman, Lisa Cullen and her baby daughter, Kayden which will take place in New York on Sunday, February 11.


Explaining the background to the event Frank Brady says “as 2017 was coming to an end, Lisa Cullen, a native of Drumkeerin, Co. Leitrim and her fiancé Paul Friel, a native of Derry City had every reason to feel excited about the incoming year.  


“Everything seemed to be going well as both were popular bartenders in The Heritage Bar on McLean Avenue in Yonkers with a wide circle of friends along the Emerald Mile.  


“Lisa also had a very popular presence around Gaelic Park as she worked at many of the functions there. The couple was expecting their first child in January. Flights were booked and plans were in the works for the expected christening in the Big Apple early in the New Year.


“Then in late November when Lisa was seven months pregnant, fate threw her a wicked curve ball. Lisa was diagnosed with an insidious brain tumour. To say that the situation was dire would be a gross understatement.


“The nefarious tumour was putting two lives at risk, namely Lisa’s and her unborn baby. A caesarean section was conducted for the early delivery of baby Kayden, which then allowed a team of world-class surgeons at Montefiore (Hospital) the daunting task of removing the dangerous tumour.


“When surgery was completed, sixty percent of the tumour was removed. However Lisa’s prognosis looked grim as she remained in a coma for three weeks, tethered to life supporting equipment.


“Lisa’s fiancé Paul, along with family members and friends engaged in a 24/7 beside vigil praying, hoping and longing for any sign of improvement such as the blink of an eye, a twitch in a finger or a toe, but the graphs remained flat-lined.


“A healing Mass was celebrated in St. Barnabas Church (The Bronx) by Fr. Brendan Fitzgerald, and despite the Arctic December type weather the church was packed to capacity with dozens more braving the frigid weather outside on the stoop as they prayed for Lisa’s recovery.  


“Still, despite the dismal situation, Lisa’s parents, Gabrielle and Fintan, were greatly moved by the display of solidarity and support from the Woodlawn and McLean areas during their darkest hours.


“Then on Christmas Eve, and appearing nothing short of a miracle, she opened her eyes. Lisa saw her beautiful baby boy, Kayden for the first time, though still unable to clutch the bundle of joy.


“That miraculous moment was the first step on Lisa’s road to recovery. She must now undergo a long and arduous path to health that includes speech and physical therapy, radiation treatment and chemotherapy.


“Her fiancé Paul and their families realize that Lisa’s battle with cancer has just begun. Naturally the requisite medical care for Lisa will involve substantial medical costs, plus baby Kayden must be provided for while his mother battles to regain her health.  


“Accordingly Paul and Lisa’s friends and colleagues along with members of the County Leitrim Society, the Leitrim men’s and ladies’ football clubs have organized a benefit to assist this young mother and her new-born son to be held at Rory Dolan’s on McLean Avenue, Yonkers, from 2pm to 10 pm on Sunday, February 11.


“The benefit will consist of donations, Super Bowl pools, raffles and an auction with a potpourri of items. Among the items on the auction block will be signed jerseys by some of Irelands greatest Gaelic players, signed memorabilia from soccer and boxing stars, airline flights to the All-Ireland finals, All-Ireland hurling and football tickets, Yankee box tickets, Rangers tickets, concert tickets, a variety of vacation trips to desired destinations, and an array of gift baskets and vouchers plus a medley of merchandise for all ages and tastes.


“In addition a host of performers in the Irish-American community will provide entertainment. You can also make a donation at the GoFundMe.com/Lisa-BabyKayden.


“For further information contact Frank Brady 914-963-8729, Eileen Mannion-Collum 914-450-5323, Michael Coyle, 718-683-6307, Anna Mulvey-Buggy 718-476-1268, Michelle Munnelly 646-491-3761, Lisa Sorohan 914-309-3093.”

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