Money raised for brave Cillian will change his life

By Mary Dennehy

IT MAY be one of Tallaght’s smallest pubs however, what the Dragon doesn’t have in size it has in heart - with staff, house musicians and regulars recently uniting to raise €9K for a canine companion for a five-year-old boy.

Living in Tallaght, little Cillian Lawlor has severe autism and a lack of safety awareness, which results in the five-year-old not getting out and about too much.

Cillian Lawlor fundraiser 11052017

However, life is about to change for little Cillian after the community at the Dragon united and staged a music evening in the Tallaght Village pub – which raised an impressive €9K for Cillian to have his canine companion Isla trained as an assistance dog.

Isla, who is 17 months, has been living with the family since she was only three-months-old but now thanks to the money raised by the Dragon she is travelling to Cork next month to be fully trained as an assistance dog.

After a four-month programme, Isla will return to Cillian, who will be attached to his four-legged friend when he ventures outdoors - providing him with security, safety and independence.

Cillian’s mam Leanne told The Echo: “We can’t thank everybody at the Dragon enough, the money they have raised for Cillian will change his life.

“He’ll have independence and through assistance from Isla will be able to go out and enjoy the outdoors like other children his age.

“My Canine Companion [which trains the dogs] does not receive any Government funding, so families have to try and raise the money themselves… its costs more than €10,000 to train one dog.

“We are really grateful to everyone at the Dragon and to everyone who supported the night and helping to raise this incredible amount of money for Cillian.”

Chris Keeley, who helped organise the music night in the Dragon, told The Echo how regulars Mick Healy and Derek Mulligan suggested a fundraiser, which was then supported by management, staff, customers and resident musicians of the Tallaght Village pub.

Chris, who is part of local band Level Heads, told The Echo: “The support was amazing, we only had to ask people once and they were on board.

“Loads of musicians and bands from the area and further afield performed on the night and so many Tallaght businesses came on board and donated great raffle prizes.

“We sold around 5,000 raffle tickets on the night in the Dragon, which shows the level of support the fundraising gig received.

“We also raised money through a GoFundMe page and local comedian Al Porter also made a personal donation of €500 and auctioned off a jersey signed by the O’Donovan brothers, which raised €1,000 for Cillian.”

He added: “I think the night proved that the Dragon may be small but it can make a huge impact, and it was the community within this small pub in Tallaght that made all of this happen and helped to raise an amazing €9,000 for a little boy.”

Money raised through the music evening, which was staged in the Tallaght pub late last year, was recently handed over to Cillian’s family in the Dragon.

For more on My Canine Companion and how you can support them and other children, visit www.mycaninecompanion.ie 

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