A birthday fundraiser in memory of Larne girl Caitlyn McAllister will be held tomorrow (April 27) in aid of two leading children’s charities.
Thirteen-year-old Caitlyn died on Christmas Day after a lifelong battle with seizures.
Caitlyn suffered from chronic epilepsy and congenital dislocations to the shoulders, elbows, hips and knees, and had not been expected to survive beyond a week when she was born.
Doctors said that they had never seen a child whose body was able to sustain so many seizures over such a prolonged period.
A new drug enabled the recurrence of seizures to be reduced to four a day by dulling brain activity so that they were no longer life-threatening.
Despite medical predictions about her childhood development, in her early years, Caitlyn tried to sit up and talk, and was not blind as initially feared, although she had some sight loss.
Mum Paula said that Caitlyn had started to “fade away” a few weeks before she sadly passed away on Christmas morning.
“Christmas Day was Caitlyn’s favourite. She loved having everybody in the house around her. This day was her day. She got a special day. A special day for a special girl.”
She recalled that her beloved daughter had “outweighed the odds and stolen the hearts of many”.
“Little princess Caitlyn will always have a special place in my heart”, she added.
Caitlyn’s memorial fundraiser will take place at the Larne and District Homing Pigeon Society club in aid the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice and Children’s Law Centre. There is a £5 entry fee. Raffle tickets will cost £1 each.
Paula explained: “The Children’s Law Centre were helping us have a voice and trying to get Caitlyn the care package which she needed at home and give Caitlyn as much quality time at home as possible. You never think when your child’s so sick that you would then need someone to fight for your child’s rights for such simple things. The children’s hospice also created wonderful memories that we will cherish forever.”
For every pound donated on Caitlyn’s charity night Go Fund Me page, donors will be entered into a draw on the night with a chance to win prizes donated by Premier League club Liverpool FC, Scottish club, Celtic following an emotional appeal to manager Carnlough man Brendan Rodgers, Larne FC, as well as Ulster Rugby tops and a boxing glove signed by Carl Frampton.
Artist Carl Heggarty said that he was “very honoured and privileged” to be invited to donate his recent Elvis Presley piece to the fundraiser.
Mango Bikes in Larne has donated a custom-built cycle for the memorial fundraiser auction and also a £50 voucher and a goodie bag.
“Local businesses have been very good and generous. It shows the impact Caitlyn’s short life had,” added Paula.
She also spoke of the help and support of family friend Rab Mills who organised a fundraiser for Caitlyn a few years ago.
“He said it would be nice to mark Caitlyn’s birthday. We wanted to give something back to the charities that had helped her. It is a wee legacy from Caitlyn.”