The Limerick based charity, Cliona’s Foundation, showed their continued commitment of helping families who have children with life limiting illnesses by becoming a “Triple Lock” charity.
Terry Ring, co-founder of Cliona’s Foundation, explained that the “Triple Lock” designation means that the charity is fully in compliance with corporate governance and demonstrates its transparency and reliability as a non-profit organization.
Cliona’s Foundation receives no government funding so it solely relies on donations to financially assist families in need pay for the non-medical expenses that come with a child’s life limiting diagnosis.
The 18 month process included an in-depth analysis of the foundation’s monies and distribution which was approved by both the Board of Foundation and the Charities Institute Ireland.
“We are very proud that we have received this because we are one of only 280 charities who have achieved this ‘Triple Lock’.”
Since its founding in 2007, Cliona’s Foundation has supported 460 families throughout Ireland – 72 families have received assistance this year alone.
Mrs Ring and her husband, Brendan, founded Cliona’s Foundation in memoriam of their daughter, Cliona.
At the age of seven, Cliona was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor and received chemotherapy treatment for a year and a half.
Cliona enjoyed a “wonderful quality of life” during the following eight years after treatment, according to her mother.
However, Cliona also had a condition known as Hydrocephalus which causes fluid to build up around the brain and required a neurosurgeon to insert a block shunt to remove the excess liquid.
In early 2006, Cliona became ill and even though her brain tumor was inoperable, an operation was performed to improve Cliona’s quality of life.
The surgery was unsuccessful and Cliona passed away on December 2, 2006, just one month short of her sixteenth birthday.
Cliona’s families and friends came together to create a CD of music and speeches in her honour, the proceeds of which were donated and became the starting point of Cliona’s Foundation.
According to Mrs Ring, the goal of Cliona’s Foundation is to “alleviate the non-medical day to day expenses for families who are looking after a child with a life limiting condition”.
Terry and Brendan encountered many families who struggled to afford these day to day costs which added more stress to the already emotionally overwhelming situation of caring for a severely ill child.
“What we have learned is that inevitably children still have to travel from whatever part of the country they are from in Ireland for treatment in Dublin.”
Car parking, transportation, accommodation, food while waiting at the hospital, childcare for siblings at home, and house bills that still need to be paid, are just a few of the unexpected, non-medical costs that families commonly face.
Additionally, one parent usually loses their job as employers cannot afford to pay for an employee who must be at the hospital with their child.
“The hidden costs can be crippling for a family.”
The process for financial assistance from Cliona’s Foundation is a simple one page application accompanied by a letter of support.
In the month of September alone, Cliona’s Foundation received 23 applications from families in need, yet funding and donations are key to determining how many families the charity can assist at one time.
“We want to continue to fund the families we have on our books.”
Mrs Ring wants to encourage more people to host their own fundraisers for Cliona’s Foundation and will even provide fundraising packs to those who are interested in holding an event.
Fashion shows, golf classics, and even donating as part of a birthday gift are just some of the creative ideas that contributors have had in the past.
This year was also the 10th Annual Cliona’s Foundation Cycle which contributed to the €122,000 that the charity has raised so far this year.
Terry and Brendan are staff members of Cliona’s Foundation but they refuse to draw a salary meaning that all the money raised goes to directly helping families in need.
Cliona’s Foundation usually does not learn the outcome of whether an ill child recovers or passes away. However, sometimes families do reach out and send Christmas cards of their healthy kids or even host their own fundraisers to give money back to the charity that helped them through the tough times.
“That does our heart good.”
Mrs Ring fondly remembers her daughter’s bubbly and outgoing personality along with her “wicked” sense of humor.
After suffering their own tremendous loss, the Ring family comprised of Terry, Brendan, and their son, Colum, took the memory of Cliona and helped others who faced similar pain and struggle.
The designation of being a “Triple Lock” charity demonstrates the commitment of Cliona’s Foundation as they seek to one day help every family who applies.
“I would like to see Cliona’s Foundation flourish and continue on for the foreseeable future.”
More information about Cliona’s Foundation can be found at: https://clionasfoundation.ie/