Put on your happy face this weekend and raise money for cystic fibrosis charity

A fundraiser being spearheaded by city photographers in conjunction with a local charity has generated a huge response from the public.

Gerry O’Gorman of the Lane Studios and Neil Warner of Warner Corporate Photography, both former Galway Advertiser photographers, have joined forces with the Galway branch of the Cystic Fibrosis Association of Ireland to hold Happy Faces Day on Friday and Saturday from 11am to 6pm. They are being assisted by the Keady Studios and have the backing of local media organisations the Galway Advertiser and galwaybayfm

People of any age are invited to go along to their studio at the Eyre Square Centre (lower level, Eyre Square entrance (below the Skeffington Hotel ) on either day and have a professional portrait taken for €25. All the proceeds go to the Cystic Fibrosis Galway Hospital Project. An appointment is not necessary but is advised due to the interest in the event. To book telephone the Lane Studios at (091 ) 567938.

The photographers are providing their services free and all the money raised will go to the CF association. Happy Faces is a nationwide fundraiser by the Irish Professional Photographers’ Association in association with Canon which aims to raise €100,000 for much needed isolation facilities throughout Ireland for people with CF.

Social photographer Gerry O’Gorman says the organisers are delighted with the “huge” response to the event.

“We are urging anyone, from 0 to 100, to come along and have a professional portrait taken and help raise funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Asociation’s Galway Hospital Project. For a donation of €25 you will receive a professional five by seven portrait and 100 per cent of the money will go to the local CF charity.

“We would advise people to book in advance if possible as there is a lot of interest being shown in the event.”

Mary Lane Heneghan, the chairperson of the Galway Branch of the CF association, explains cystic fibrosis is Ireland’s most commonly inherited, life-threatening, genetic disease, affecting more than 1,200 people nationally. It affects the glands, damaging many organs including the lungs, the pancreas and the digestive system.

About one in 20 people in Ireland are carriers of the CF gene and where two carriers parent a child there is a one in four chance of the baby being born with the condition. CF carriers are healthy and totally unaware that they are carriers until they have a child with CF.

Treatment is intensive and people with CF have a daily routine of drugs, enzymes, physiotherapy, exercise and a high fat diet. Oral, inhaled and intravenous antibiotics are crucial for controlling recurring chest infections. High-energy foods supplemented by enzymes combat digestive problems while physiotherapy and exercise are important for fitness and for keeping the lungs clear.

“For a considerable number of CF patients a lung transplant is often the only remaining option. While therapeutic options have expanded in recent years, life expectancy and quality of life for people with CF can be significantly improved through a lung transplant,” says Ms Heneghan.

“Now that the Mater Hospital’s lung transplant unit in Dublin is up and running we expect to see an increase in the number of CF patients receiving lung transplants. Welcome news was the recent announcement of the approval of a dedicated lung transplant surgeon there. This will mean that persons requiring a lung transplant will no longer have to travel to Newcastle in the UK.”

She says the life expectancy and quality of life for people with CF improves in direct proportion to the availability of proper medical care and facilities.

“The Galway Branch of the CF Association are continually fundraising to provide the basic facilities for the 60 plus patients with CF in the Galway area who attend UHG. It is critical that cystic fibrosis patients be treated in single rooms with en-suite facilities as the lack of segregation and isolation facilities poses a significant risk of cross infection by virulent organisms.

“Galway was one of the first hospitals outside of Dublin to get dedicated facilities for persons with CF. In September 2009 three single en-suite rooms were opened in St Anthony’s Ward for adults (over 16s ) which cost over €300,000 paid for out of voluntary contributions. CF Galway also funded a lung function laboratory and other medical equipment in UHG. A consultant physician with expertise in the treatment of adults with CF will shortly be joining the medical team. This is very welcome news.”

She says the Galway branch’s top three priorities are improved isolation en-suite facilities at UHG, the provision of additional specialist medical staff, and necessary medical equipment for patients.

Ms Lane Heneghan says the Happy Faces fundraiser will generate much needed funds for the local organisation.

“We are delighted that the IPPA are supporting CF as we continue to fundraise to improve isolated accommodation and medical staffing in UHG .A special thanks to Gerry O’Gorman and Neil Warner who are the participating photographers in Galway. We hope to raise a lot of money and are appealing to the public to support this event. Your contribution will make a difference to the lives of persons with CF. Many thanks also to all who have organised fundraising events and gave so generously of their time over the years.”

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