Longford musicians on the bill for popular Fairy Festival this June

Final fairy festival to raise funds for childhood cancer charity

Jessica Thompson

Reporter:

Jessica Thompson

Email:

jessica.thompson@longfordleader.ie

Longford musicians on the bill for popular Fairy Festival this June

Childhood cancer survivor, Isobel Cullinane, enjoying the festivities at last year's Fairy Day Festival.

Longford musicians Joe Regan, with his band State Lights, and Katie Gallagher will be lending their support to the farewell festival for IzzyB’s Away with the Fairies, which will take place on June 9 and 10, 2018 in Strokestown.

The two day event will feature a magical children’s parade, street party, live music and fireworks as well as the fairy and pirate day in Strokestown Park House.

This is the fifth and final year of the event which was initiated by the family and friends of Childhood Cancer Survivor, Isobel (Izzy) Cullinan from Strokestown.

Last year approximately 3,000 adults and children attended IzzyB’s Fairy Day to participate in the magical world of fairies and pirates.

In so doing it helped to create awareness and raise much needed funds for Childhood Cancer Foundation whom work closely with St John's Ward at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin.

It also helped to continue the fantastic work they are doing to help children and families battling this dreadful disease.

Over the past four years, Fairy Day has raised in excess of €72,000 to support projects and services for children fighting cancer around Ireland.

‘Izzy’ is a daughter of Laura O’ Rourke Cullinan and John Cullinan, a former County Meath footballer. Isobel is now cancer free and she started primary school last September.

“The inspiration for fairy day is my daughter Isobel Cullinan, who was diagnosed with a Wilms Tumour in February 2014 which is a form of Kidney Cancer, at 21 months old,” said Laura.

“She was successfully treated, however, unfortunately a year to the day of her last treatment, on the 12th of May 2015, Isobel relapsed with two tumours on her left lung.

“After a lengthy battle she is now currently cancer free and will complete her first year of primary school this June. This will coincide with the completion of Fairy day and the next chapter of my little hero’s life.”

Laura explained why 2018 will be the final farewell festival: “We are so grateful to everyone for supporting Fairy Day over the past four years and for all the help in raising such a fantastic amount of money for children fighting cancer.

“However, Isobel is six years of age now and we don’t want her to be defined by her diagnosis, she needs to be able to grow up away from the limelight of Fairy Day - she has spent so much of her life already in a clinical environment, in and out of hospitals, undergoing treatments and all the time being such a brave little girl.

“But she needs to move on now - she needs to be allowed to grow up with the same level of anonymity most children enjoy, being able to just spend time laughing with her friends or family and we sincerely hope that people understand and accept that,” explained Laura.

Although Isobel is currently cancer free, it is unfortunately not the end of hospital visits for the County Roscommon girl as she still requires regular check-ups, monitoring and further analysis to determine how exactly the cancer diagnosis has affected her development.

Childhood cancer survivors can face a range of possible long-term side effects.

“Unfortunately, we don’t know the long term effects of childhood cancer or what the future holds for Isobel - the best way I can describe it is that you constantly live with the threat, however we must learn to live with this and protect our girls,” said Laura.

The Fairy Farewell Festival events begin Saturday, June 9 from 8pm and will see a street party on Bawn Street, Strokestown, with live music from Riptide Movement singer Malachy Tuohy, new up and coming band - State Lights, Aimee Fitzpatrick of the Voice UK 2018, Ballymahon musician Katie Gallagher, US artist Jared Dylan and Psylo Celestial.

There will be fun and frolics for all the family, as well as a magical parade and a fireworks display that evening.

Admission is free. Donations on the night are welcome, however members of the public are asked to register for their free tickets on Eventbrite.

Sunday June 10 will be the final IzzyB’s Away with the Fairies, Pirate and Fairy party in Strokes-town Park House woodland and gardens.

Activities include fairy cake making, tales for Fairy and Pirate duals with the Irish Fairy Door Company, appearances from Star Wars friends Emerald Garrison, performances from Youth Ballet West, Art and Crafts and lots more fun.

Entry for this fantastic event is just €10 for children, €35 for a family of four or more and adults and under twos are free.

Tickets are available to pre-book on Eventbrite. Or alternatively you can pay on the day at the gate.

For more information on event visit facebook.com/ izzybsawaywiththefairiesfunday.

For more information on the chosen charity, visit www.childhoodcancer.ie.