Tuesday 17 September 2019

Jarrah's story hits Wexford in 32 gig fundraiser

Owen Clerkin, Marcus McGee, Ozzie O'Reilly, Mikie McCormack and Ben Folkman in the Bull Ring.
Owen Clerkin, Marcus McGee, Ozzie O'Reilly, Mikie McCormack and Ben Folkman in the Bull Ring.

By Amy Lewis

The story of five-year-old Jarrah Folkman travelled around Ireland in recent weeks as his father Ben Folkman brought the 'Jammin' for Jarrah' gig to all 32 counties in seven days.

The busking bonanza was organised by Ben and six friends in aid of Jarrah, who was born in 2011 with Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy, CVI Blindness and Refractory Epilepsy. Towards the end of their journey, the musicians descended on Wexford Main Street, where Ben said they were met with great support from locals.

'It was absolutely brilliant. As soon as the sun came out, we went to play by the statue. Once we started making some racket and having a muck around, people came up to ask about Jarrah's story. They gave us great support,' explained Ben, who is originally from Australia.

Owing to Jarrah's condition, it is difficult for his parents to move him in and out of the car and so, he was unable to watch his father in action. However, in a loving tribute to his son, Ben brought along some collages of Jarrah's life so far, as well as a guitar plastered with his face.

'I wish I could have brought him with me but I couldn't,' said Ben. 'With the collages, I did get to bring him along in some way or another and show him to people in every county.'

'I was trying to be Jarrah's voice around Ireland by spreading awareness about his condition and encouraging people to be more aware of it.'

The 'Jammin' for Jarrah' fundraiser raised approximately €3,000 for Jarrah, which Ben said is more than they ever expected to raise. It culminated in a large concert and homecoming event in Jarrah's hometown of Coote Hill, which Ben said was an extremely emotional and memorable night.

The campaign brings the Folkman family that step closer to their target of €40,000, which they will use to purchase wheelchair accessible transport for Jarrah.

'We need to be able to bring him from a to b so that he can live some sort of a normal life,' explained Ben. 'We have been doing other fundraisers and already are about 75 per cent of the way there.'

With support flooding in through their website and their Jammin' For Jarrah Facebook page, Ben expects that they will reach their target in the coming weeks.

Wexford People

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