independent

Sunday 22 October 2017

Pamper Me Pretty raises a whopping €15,000

By Esther Hayden

Justin and Avril Whitty, organisers of the Pamper Me Pretty event at the Talbot.
Justin and Avril Whitty, organisers of the Pamper Me Pretty event at the Talbot.
Rebecca Dunleavy, Triona Roche, Sharon Murphy and Deborah Kavanagh
Janette O'Neill Kate Fahy and Emily Kennedy
Eimear, Anne and Ciara Thomas

over €15,000 was raised at the inaugural Pamper Me Pretty fundraiser in the Talbot Hotel recently.

The fundraiser which was the brainchild of local couple Avril and Justin Whitty was held to raise awareness of a rare liver disease.

29-year-old Avril from Drinagh was diagnosed with Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC) shortly after marrying Justin.

The disease which has only been identified in recent years is a rare and poorly understood autoimmune disease of the bile ducts. Symptoms can be severe and unpredictable, sometimes progressing rapidly to end stage liver disease, requiring a liver transplant.

Avril who works in BNY Mellon said she wanted to organise the fundraiser to both raise awareness of PSC and to fundraise for the PSC Support charity which has been invaluable to her and her family.

'When I was diagnosed I was only six months married and my husband and I were given a very grim prognosis and very little information about the disease or its care let alone where you could get help and support.

'I was worried and completely in the dark. All the stories I read online told me about a life expectancy of ten years post diagnoses. This auto-immune disease has impacted on all aspects of my life and complicates other health concerns that others may get over more quickly.

'I am always fighting for my future and looking to make the most of it with my husband and two amazing children even with this condition. I have been given amazing support and information from the PSC Support charity that has helped me continue to live a normal life in as much as possible.

'I really think that the event raised both awareness for the disease and also the importance of organ donation. As a result of the publicity for the event a local man who also has the disease contacted me and he was delighted to see that he wasn't alone in his illness.'

Justin said that the event had been a massive success on the day, exceeding their expectations.

'It was an absolutely brilliant day and went far better than we imagined. We raised in the region of €15,000 so far but we haven't the final figure. People were so generous on the day and we raised around €2,000 from the raffle alone.'

Justin said that the couple who have two daughters, Alicia (10) and Cora (2), were so overwhelmed by people's support and generosity that they are strongly considering making it an annual event.

On the day there were makeup demonstrations by Susan Ryan, skin care tutorials by Suzanne Murphy, hair demonstrations by Zamora, a fashion show with Runaway Bride, Benetton, Pamela Scott and The Loft, not to mention the afternoon tea and a goody bag. The Nail Boutique also had a discounted nail bar while there was a make-up and tanning stall from The Beauty Bank, a skincare stall from Forever Living, makeup stall from Sam McCauley's and mini make-overs from qualified makeup artists including Laura Larkin MUA and Ciara Farrell-Margolin MUA.

Avril's employers BNY Mellon also provided funding of €5,000. You can still donate using Avril's Go Fund Me page www.gofundme.com/2dt3x2k.

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