Mary McAleese – President of Ireland, 1997-2011
Mary McAleese, who served as Ireland’s eighth President from 1997 to 2011, personally met both Saoirse and Liam, and invited the Heffernan family to the Aras to celebrate Liam’s second birthday. Mrs McAleese is a keen supporter of the planned Liam’s Lodge. “This fantastic project will be a sanctuary from the daily challenges of life which affect the whole family unit, particularly for those whose children have severely debilitating and life limiting conditions. I am sure Liam’s Lodge will open up space for much needed joy, hope, friendship, comfort and happy memories, and will be a balm in troubled lives.”
Miriam O’Callaghan – Broadcaster
Mother-of-eight Miriam O’Callaghan is one of Ireland’s best-loved broadcasters, and has officially launched several new BUMBLEances. Miriam has met many of the BUMBLEance users, and she is very supportive of the difference that BUMBLEances make every day to the lives of sick children throughout every county in Ireland. “To have a child with a rare or genetic disease is incredibly difficult. I am really looking forward to Liam’s Lodge becoming available for families across Ireland.”
Jamie Carragher – Former Footballer
Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher played for Premier League club Liverpool for 17 years. Currently a soccer pundit with Sky Sports, Jamie is the founder of the 23 Foundation (23 was the number on his shirt) which provides the youth of Merseyside with the means to make a difference in society. Jamie says that partnering with the Saoirse Foundation was a natural thing to do. “Being part of a team and achieving something together is very satisfying. I know that without the help of my team and the teams with which I grew up with, I would not have become the individual I am today. I want to help as many children as possible to have a better life.”
Nuala Carey – Charity Champion
English and sociology graduate Nuala worked for AA Roadwatch before joining the National Broadcaster. She writes for the Irish Independent on the vagaries of our ever-changeable weather. Nuala supports several charities including the Alzheimer’s Society, whom she represented on Charity You’re a Star; Cystic Fibrosis, for whom she ran the mini-marathon; the Special Olympics; Carers Week; and the Irish Cancer Society, for whom she removed her makeup on live television. Nuala is delighted lend her support to Tony and Mary’s inspiring initiative.
Matt Cooper – Journalist
Journalist, author, TV presenter and presenter of The Last Word on Today FM, Matt is one of Ireland’s highest-profile media personalities. “I was deeply honoured to be asked by Tony and Mary to assist in the incredible efforts to make life better for sick Irish children and their parents. Anyone who has met the Heffernans cannot fail to be impressed by their compassion, their passion and their selfless work. It is a privilege to do anything I can to help promote BUMBLEance and Liam’s Lodge. Whatever we can do, we should.”
Gerry Duffy – Motivational Speaker
Personal trainer Gerry Duffy is a motivational speaker and writer, whose accomplishments include running 32 marathons in 32 days. He won the 2011 Deca Ironman event in the UK, an event described as the toughest ten-day endurance challenge in the world. Gerry firmly believes that human beings can do far more than we give ourselves credit for, and is keen to lead by example. Gerry has raised funds for several charities, he writes a column in the Irish Independent’s Fit supplement, and he is the author of He Who Dares, Runs.
Willie Casey – Professional Boxer
Willie Casey is an Irish professional boxer from Co. Limerick who won his nickname “Big Bang” for his aggressive and powerful boxing style. He won the Prizefighter series in May 2010 in the super bantamweight division, and was named Boxer of the Year at the Irish National Boxing Awards in 2011. Willie’s meteoric rise to the head of the queue for a shot at the interim WBA super-bantamweight title defied all boxing convention. Willie has been raising awareness for Battens Disease since 2010.