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St Michael’s House pays tribute to Baldoyle service user

Staff and management at St Michael’s House have paid tribute to Ivanna Nolan, service user at Baldoyle Special National School and the inspiration for the annual ‘New to You’ fashion sale, who sadly passed away in May 2020.

Ivanna’s friends and family decided to host the annual fashion sale event to support the Baldoyle unit having witnessed the support provided to their family friend.

Ivanna started with St Michael’s House as a baby receiving weekly therapy and play sessions. Ivanna’s mother Barbara Nolan recalled how this was huge support to her during a daunting time.

“Ivanna was born with a very rare condition – hemimegalencephaly – that is characterised by the enlargement of one side of the brain,” she recalled. “Ivanna also lived with scoliosis and cerebral palsy. St Michael’s House continued to support Ivanna in childhood with education in Baldoyle Special National School and then into adulthood when she attended day services in Raheny and Baldoyle. Ivanna loved being with her friends in St Michael’s House.”

The first ‘New to You’ event that took place in 2012 raised €6,304. In 2019 the event generated over €55,000 for people with disabilities. Over eight years, the New to You Fashion Sale fundraised €277,006 and supported the development of children and adult sensory rooms, bathroom facility upgrades, sensory garden space, accessible swimming pool upgrades and three wheelchair accessible buses. The rise in funds and popularity of the event is a testament to the hard work of the dedicated team lead by Niamh Hanratty.

Of the success of the ‘New to You’ fundraiser Niamh Hanratty said: “We received such high quality pre-loved clothes and accessories that after three years we were able to add a designer show and auction element to the sale.

“This created such an anticipation for the event and helped boosted the funds. The success of the sale is a result of a huge amount of organisation by the team of amazing volunteers. I wish to thank all of the donors, buyers, models, event volunteers and my fellow committee members, Eileen Murray, Margo Lavelle, Mary Sherry, Marie Fitzpatrick and Lydia Ensor. We have really enjoyed seeing the difference these funds have made to St Michael’s House.”

Barbara Wiseman, Head of Communications and Fundraising at St Michael’s House said “This community support has made a fantastic contribution to our organisation but has also highlighted the importance of the St. Michael’s House service to so many families.

“We are very grateful to everyone who has made this event a success. We wish to thank the committee, the Nolan family and the inspiration for this event, Ivanna”.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the ‘New to You’ fashion sale was cancelled in 2020. If you would like to support St. Michael’s House, you can visit www.smh.ie or text ‘SMH’ to 50300 to donate €4

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