A Donegal woman had ‘the best birthday ever’ after raising over €3,000 for the Donegal Hospice in memory of her late brother.

Alison Pasquier’s 50th birthday celebrations weren’t quite what she imagined before the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Instead of a BBQ party last Friday, she celebrated the success of a fundraiser which raised ten times its target in support of the Donegal Hospice.

The Donegal Town primary school teacher had always wanted to do something in memory of her brother, Noel Browne, who passed away in 2008 at the age of 40.

Noel Browne, RIP

Noel, who was two years older than Alison, had lived with cancer for almost four years before his passing. A beloved dad and husband, he took his illness with good grace, great dignity and positivity.

The perfect idea for a memorial fund came to Alison last week. The Covid-19 crisis had put an end to all birthday plans, so she set up a GoFundMe to ask friends and family to donate to the Donegal Hospice instead of giving her gifts this year.

“It never leaves you, losing someone close. When you hit these big birthday milestones you are thinking Noel should have been here,” Alison said.

Alison wanted to give back to the Hospice at a time when they are most in need of funds, due to all major fundraisers being disrupted in 2020.

The fund is a special thank you to staff who gave Noel comfort and provided invaluable support to his family in his final days, Alison said.

“The staff were second to none, they were just amazing and so supportive in a discreet and quiet way.

“They allowed Noel to die with dignity, surrounded by his family, with pain relief. The nurses always had time for everybody. To work in that environment every day, I think, is very difficult and very rewarding. You have to park your own troubles at the door and it takes a special kind of person to work there.”

Alison’s fundraiser brought a community of people together to dig deep and donate to the Hospice. And the success of this fund turned a birthday that she was ‘dreading’ into an amazing day.

Alison enjoyed many special birthday surprises on Friday, thanks to family and friends

Not only that, but her friends and family planned unique surprises for her at home and online, including a homemade lunch with her husband and daughters, a birthday drive-by and a Zoom party.

“It turned out to be an amazing birthday – and to have something so good come out of it for the Hospice is the icing on the cake.

“I had zero expectations, but it turned out to be the best birthday I ever had.”

Alison’s fundraiser is still open on GoFundMe, if you would like to donate a birthday ‘gift’, please click here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/c59hxq