Downings woman Barbara Gallagher is adding a meaningful purpose to her milestone 50th birthday celebrations this July.

Instead of traditional gifts, Barbara, a dedicated Senior Enhanced Paediatric Nurse in Letterkenny, is inviting the community to support the purchase of sensory toys and equipment for children with complex needs.

Barbara has more than 30 years of nursing experience in England, Derry and Donegal working with babies and children with disabilities.

Barbara Gallagher is a Senior Enhanced Paediatric Nurse based in Letterkenny

“I’ve seen first-hand how creating a calming environment can be beneficial to families,” Barbara said.

“Sensory toys can help children focus and play, they can relieve stress and anxiety and make children more relaxed, focused and calm during a medical visit.”

Barbara’s vision for equipment, to be provided at the Paediatric Out-Patients Department at Scally Place, will help children self-regulate and prepare for appointments.

“I would have seen myself first-hand how these children struggle to come to appointments, especially if they are sensitive to various things in the environment,” Barbara said.

“Children with autism face challenges every day with communication and interacting with people and sensory toys help them focus.”

Barbara’s partner, businessman John Watson, is spearheading the organising of a party which will also double as a fundraiser.

“I said to John that I never had an 18th or 21st so if we are doing a party, let’s do it with a reason behind it,” she said.

Every penny counts, and if you would like to support the fundraiser or wish Barbara a happy birthday, you can do so on GoFundMe here:

Donations will also be gratefully received in person.