The special summer ball has raised well over €15,000 to support local people with disabilities.
The first No Barriers Foundation charity ball was a feast of glitz, glamour and generosity in the beautiful Castle Grove Country House on Saturday 8th June.
Over 90 guests turned out for the black tie summer soirée hosted by the Letterkenny-based non-profit group. The night was the perfect opportunity to celebrate the many achievements of No Barriers so far and to generate support for their future goals.
Early estimates suggest that around €15,400 was raised on the night through kind donations, raffle entries and a lively auction.
The life-changing benefits of the No Barriers services were highlighted in words, videos and demonstrations before the meal.
In his speech, No Barriers Director Johnny Loughrey explained how the foundation was established in 2016 to provide specialist rehabilitation services in the north west.
The non-profit group successfully raised enough funds last year to buy an Exoskeleton Robotic Suit to enable people with spinal injury, stroke, MS, brain injury and other conditions to walk and exercise. No Barriers now employs two full-time staff to deliver this unparalleled walking therapy.
Special guest on the night was Gerry McCabe, who demonstrated the impressive Exoskeleton suit by walking through the Castle Grove ballroom with his wife Dolores.
Gerry, who is from Dundalk, has been a wheelchair user since 2004 after sustaining a spinal cord injury in an accident. His dream of walking again came true thanks to a major fundraising campaign by his friends and family which helped him buy his own Exoskeleton.
Gerry talked about the physical and mental benefits the suit brings him, saying: “It’s life-changing. Before this I had all sorts of problems. Since I started walking the change in me and the change in my family is unreal.”
The No Barriers committee announced that the Donegal suit would now be named Gerry in honour of the inspiration that Mr McCabe has brought to their efforts.
A selection of No Barriers service users also shared their stories in a video which was screened at the ball. They talked about the strength, mental uplift and physical improvements they have gained from regular use of the exoskeleton.
“No Barriers wouldn’t be anything without the patients that are using the suit. We are really driven forward by the emotion we get from them,” Johnny Loughrey said.
Johnny explained that there is still much more to do. Money raised from the ball will be used to cover staff wages to continue delivering the low-cost therapy, while No Barriers also aim to create a new inclusive gym environment in Donegal.
Guests got behind the foundation by making generous donations to a raffle, which had a large number of incredible prizes from supportive businesses. Charlie Robinson led a thrilling auction with one-of-a-kind sports items and experiences, artwork, beauty treatments and a cruise all up for grabs.
Castle Grove also welcomed celebrity Chef Gary O’Hanlon, who created a delicious five-course menu especially for the occasion.
Entertainment was provided by Letterkenny band RAW and DJ Keith Fletcher, who both had guests on the dancefloor long into the night.
Event organisers Johnny Loughrey, Sharon Gildea and all the committee would like to sincerely thank all businesses, groups and individuals who attended and everyone who has supported the important cause.
Thank you to the following sponsors of the No Barriers Charity Ball:
- Atlantic Travel
- Castle Grove Country House Hotel
- Harveys Point Hotel
- Oakfield Park
- Patrick Gildea Hairdressing Letterkenny
- Artist Jacinta Callaghan
- JT Physio
- Lemon Tree Restaurant
- RSC Strength & Conditioning
- Donegal Food Tours
- Yellow Pepper
- Fit Hub
- Arena 7
- Muff Liquor Co.
- Shandon Hotel & Spa
- Portsalon Golf Club
- Artist Laura Buchannan
- Station House
- Kinnegar Brewery
- Rosapenna Golf Club
- Fitzgerald Private Clinic