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Click-4-Crumlin for Covid-19 testing machine

The transition year students in Clongowes are raising €50,000 to buy a special Covid-19 testing machine for Our Lady’s National Children’s Hospital in Crumlin. They are looking for donations on foot of their virtual Duck Push which took place this year on Wednesday 27 May. They have already raised €20,000 and need another €30,000 so that the hospital can buy the PCR machine. Donations can be made online here.

The Duck Push from Dublin to Limerick is an annual fundraising event. The students from Clongowes first started pushing the big yellow eye-catching duck in 1993. Since then successive groups have raised over €2 million for the Children’s Hospital. In an interview for the students, Fr Michael Sheil SJ, rector of Clongowes, tells the story of the Duck Push and makes an appeal for donations this year for the Covid-19 testing machine.

In an interview by Zoom with TY student Tadhg Wilson, pathologist Dr Michael McDermott said that there wasn’t a department in the children’s hospital that had not benefited from the equipment purchased from money raised in the annual duck pushes. “It’s not an exaggeration to say that thousands of children from all over Ireland have benefited from the efforts of Clongowes students over almost 30 years.”

Due to the current restrictions, however, it seemed that the Duck Push this year would have to be cancelled. Dr McDermott told Tadhg that he had said goodbye to the idea of getting any funds from the College this year.

But, undeterred, the TY students decided to do the push virtually. Instead of taking to the road together, 40 students each ran 6.5 km in their own home towns, so together they covered the Duck Push 260 km route. The run started at 11.15 am on the last Wednesday in May.

The students set themselves the target of raising enough money to buy a much-needed Covid-19 testing machine that would protect the lives not just of children in the hospital but of medical staff, families and visitors as well.

They need to raise €50,000 to purchase a PCR machine which will allow doctors in Crumlin to detect the Covid-19 virus in Ireland’s youngest patients. By testing for the virus, doctors will be able to quickly identify and manage the treatment of the children in their care – some of whom have very serious medical conditions that require urgent and timely care.

All the fundraiser for equipment for the hospital is done under the banner of “kids helping kids”.

Students from Clongowes explained: “We were all so disappointed not to be able to hit the road with the Duck and raise funds for Crumlin. Tadhg Wilson came up with the idea of ‘Click-4-Crumlin’ because he knew that people want to support the great work of the doctors and nurses in Crumlin – most people have a phone or computer these days so donating couldn’t be easier on gofundme.com”

The students went on to explain the importance of the Duck Push in Clongowes: “The ethos of our school is to be ‘a person for others’ – this means if we can help those in need, then we should, and we are really happy to do this fundraiser for the sick children in Crumlin. The lockdown has been tough on everyone but is much harder for the sick children who are in hospital. We hope people will support us and that we can buy the PCR machine for the patients and front line workers in Crumlin”

Last year’s Clongowes Duck Push raised almost €70,000 with the funds used to provide 3 Recussitaire Beds for ICU at the hospital. These beds now facilitate the smallest of patients in ICU providing vital state of the art support.

“So we’re appealing to everyone this year to dig deep and help us reach our target of €50,000.” says Fr Michael. “We’re almost half-way there, and every little helps. If you give us something now, then by the end of June the children’s hospital could be purchasing a shiny brand new piece of testing equipment that will undoubtedly help the staff and children in the hospital to stay safe and virus-free.”