February 2019 Newsletter

Dear Members and Friends of FirstLight,

Thank you for supporting FirstLight in recent times; as well as some 40 families from previous years were supported by FirstLight’s team of psychotherapists led by Mags Mc Goldrick. All families referred to FirstLight were attended to – there was no waiting list. In addition to the provision of telephone support, Home Visits, couple, one to one and group counselling, a Family Bereavement Day was held in June 2018. The latter event was especially important as many people, on average 10, are strongly impacted by the sudden loss of a child and this event welcomed the participation of all members of the extended bereaved family.

It was wonderful for us to support the ‘Mile in Memory’ walks organised by FirstLight’s friends in 6 different locations around the country in 2018, in Inis Mór, Co. Galway, Salthill, Galway, Kilmallock, Co. Limerick, Rossbeigh, Co. Kerry, St. Annes Park, Dublin and Dunhill, Co. Waterford. These remembrance walks provided the families who had lost a child with the opportunity to honour and celebrate the lives of their loved ones with the support of their neighbours, friends and community.

The generous support of the families, volunteers, members of the public, partner organisations and trusts, who gave of their time to fundraise or provide donations, helped FirstLight meet the exceptional level of demand for its services in 2018. We were thrilled with the response to our call for volunteers for our Pop-Up shop in Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre in December; 55 people volunteered their time. The shop provided a tremendous opportunity: to inform the public about FirstLight; offer a gift-wrapping service which the public (particularly the male members) very much appreciated; raise funds, and a relatively quiet space for families to see the Memory Quilts on display.

We do not underestimate the effort involved in fundraising and are deeply indebted to all who raised funds or made contributions, big and small in 2018. Our collective efforts enable the realisation of our shared vision: that any parent or family member that suddenly loses a child up to 18 years will be treated compassionately and will be impacted positively through timely access to qualified professional crisis intervention and therapeutic services.

As we now enter our 43rd year, we remain the only organisation providing professional crisis intervention and counselling services to suddenly bereaved families, either within or outside of the State’s services. We continue to provide these services free of charge and given the limited State financial support, it will be necessary for us to continue to call on your support to help us fund the provision of our services going forward.

Needless to say, we were delighted to be awarded a €10,000 grant by the Hospital Saturday Fund in January, to support the expansion of our professional support services in the West-North-West region. The cheque for €10,000 was presented at a special ceremony in the Áras on February 20th. FirstLight’s Council

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to FirstLight’s Council which guides the strategic direction and governance of the organisation. Council members give their time voluntarily, are not remunerated, and are drawn from diverse backgrounds. FirstLight is very fortunate indeed to have the benefit of the skills and experience of its Council members. Board Member Skills and Experience

Board Member Skills and Experience
Fiona Hammond, Chair. MSc Healthcare Management, CEO, ODTI. Joined Board: 2018 Health Sector General Management; Ethics and Law; Project Management.
Ciara Regan, Fellow of Societies of Actuaries in Ireland, Chartered Director, Partner, Deloitte. Joined Board: 2019 Bereaved sibling; Strategy; Risk Analysis; Financial Management; Corporate Governance.
Oliver Blackwell, Company Secretary. B.E., MBS. Infra/Operations Associate Manager, Pepsico. Joined Board: 2013. Bereaved Parent; Technology; Innovation; Project and Change Management
David Burke BSc (Management Science), Dip. Marketing, Senior Partner, Korn Ferry. Joined Board: 2017 Strategic HR Planning; Talent Management; Strategy; Marketing
Deirdre Magliozzi, Treasurer, RGN, PG Diploma in Oncological Nursing. Joined Board: 2016 Bereaved Parent; Public Health; Medical Research; Clinical Nurse Management.
Charles O’ Brien, Marketeer and PR Consultant, Joined Board: 2017 Sales; Marketing; Communications; Public Relations
Adrian O’ Grady, Psychotherapist, Station Officer, Dublin Fire Brigade, MSc Bereavement Studies. Joined Board: 2018 Psychotherapy; Complicated Grief; Trauma Therapy; Debriefing; Critical Incident Stress Management.

Upcoming Events/Dates for your Diary

Coffee Morning Friday, March 8th

On Friday, March 8th FirstLight is relaunching its coffee morning series. Organising a coffee morning couldn’t be easier - simply get together with friends, family, neighbours and colleagues at home or in work and help raise much-needed funds to support suddenly bereaved families in your community. For support/information, Email info@firstlight.ie

Cara Bundoran Challenge Saturday, March 10th

We are delighted to have a number of teams running on behalf of FirstLight in the Cara Bundoran Challenge 2019. We wish them every success on the day and thank them sincerely for their support. If you would like to enter the race on behalf of FirstLight visit http://carabundoranrun.com/

FirstLight Family Bereavement Support Day, Saturday, May 25th

Our annual Family Bereavement Day will take place this year at the Killeshin Hotel, Portlaoise on Saturday, May 25th. This special support event is open to all family members who have been affected by the sudden loss of a child. We will be circulating additional information in the coming weeks, but if you would like to pre-register, please Email info@firstlight.ie or phone FirstLight on 01-8732711.

‘Mile in Memory’ Walks countrywide on Father’s Day, Sunday, June 16th

On Father’s Day, Sunday, June 16th, we are launching a new initiative around the ‘Mile in Memory’ Walks; we are asking parents and families throughout Ireland to host a ‘Mile in Memory’ Walk within their community on this day in remembrance of all children who have died suddenly. We envisage the planting of a FirstLight tree in the walk locations to be an integral part of the remembrance ceremonies.

As this is the inaugural year of this new initiative, we are keen to have at least 12 walks take place throughout the country on June 16th. If you would like to host a ‘Mile in Memory’ Walk in your community this year, please phone the Head Office on 01-8732711 or Email andrew@firstlight.ie. We will supply each walking group with a ‘Mile in Memory’ Walk pack which includes t-shirts, posters, wristbands, pins, and information on how to organise the Walk.

Church Gate Collections, June 2019

In June, FirstLight members will be holding an annual church gate collection on behalf of FirstLight. Some have been organising collections for over 20 years, and we thank them most sincerely for their sustained support. If you would like to hold a church gate collection in your parish this June, please contact Head Office on 01-8732711.

Marathons Diary 2019

If you would like to nominate FirstLight as your Marathon charity for 2019, you can do so through www.everydayhero.ie or through www.gofundme.ie. Upcoming Marathons include:

• VHI Women’s Marathon, Sunday, June 2nd • Cork City Marathon, Sunday, June 2nd • Rock N' Roll Marathon, Dublin, August 10/11th • KBC Dublin Marathon, Sunday 27th October,

A Fundraising Idea you may not have thought of - Facebook Birthday Fundraisers

A number of birthday fundraisers have been hosted on behalf of FirstLight through Facebook recently, raising thousands of much-needed funds. As FirstLight is now a registered charity on Facebook, you too can nominate FirstLight for a birthday fundraiser. There is no handling fee by Facebook, so FirstLight receives 100% of all donations. Contact andrew@firstlight.ie for further information.

Using our new FirstLight Website – for Monthly Direct Debits

In January we launched our new FirstLight website which includes a new monthly direct debit service. – for example, €10 a month for 12 months via direct debit will enable FirstLight to professionally facilitate a support group in your community.Volunteers Needed

As we continue to expand our fundraising activities in 2019, we would welcome volunteers from any and every part of the country willing to organise or participate in fundraising activities within their community. We are now building a new national volunteer database, so if you would like to be included, please Email info@firstlight.ie with your contact details and preferences in terms of support you can offer and availability.

Finally, we gratefully appreciate your continued support of FirstLight and would welcome any comments or suggestions you might have in this regard.

Yours faithfully, Fionnuala Sheehan, CEO, FirstLight

  • Dated: Feb 21

Our partners

By joining forces with FirstLight, our partners make a vital contribution in continued support of suddenly bereaved parents and families

 

24/7 Emergency support: 1850 391 391

Head office: +353 (0) 1 873 2711