By Barry Lord @
Diabetes affects 200,000 people in Ireland every year.
Yet there is still an alarming lack of awareness of the facts of the condition and how it affects individuals and their families.
Several charities are doing what they can, but funding remains low.
With that in mind, a charity ball event will be hosted at the Hub in Kilkenny.
The National Summertime Ball 2016 promises to be a unique evening combining a three course meal, live music, celebrity appearances and most importantly, education on the subject of Type 1 and 2 diabetes and also scoliosis – a condition that causes severe curvature of the spine.
Michael Cahill is the event co-coordinator and he spoke to Ireland Today about how the project came to fruition, citing two local young women as inspiration.
“The whole idea started in January/ February of this year,” explained Michael. “I had it in my brain to do a charity ball for a long time. Two people in the local school came to my attention.
“Molly Nolan and Ciara Carew. Ciara was involved in Junk Kouture – a recyclable material competition, where you have to make a dress out of junk.
“Kira wanted to raise awareness of Type 1 diabetes because her brother suffered from the condition and her costume was made up of diabetes paraphernalia.
“She reached the grand final in the 3 Arena, won for the southern region and appeared on the Late Late show.
“Molly Nolan has scoliosis and started a campaign to raise awareness, particularly in schools, where a check-up that could only take a few minutes will identify the condition.
“Molly is involved with the charity, Straight Ahead, which seeks to take people off waiting lists for treatment. A small group of surgeons treat patients free of charge.”
Michael added: “The funds are low for diabetes. Diabetes Ireland (the national charity that helps people with diabetes) is not getting the recognition it deserves.”
However, Michael does believe that slowly but surely awareness is growing.
“I attended a trade fare during the week,” said Michael. “We were having the discussion about diabetes and scoliosis, and people stopped at our table and told us stories about the people they knew, including relatives, suffering with these conditions. The stories are not being put out there as widely as they should.”
Now thanks to this sense of proactivity, the ball has taken shape and will be held on August 20, at 7.30 pm, at the Hub, Kilkenny and Michael spoke enthusiastically about what’s in store for those who will attend the evening.
“There will be a drinks reception followed by a three course gala dinner, a fashion Show, auction, a raffle and live music. We’ll have three Voice of Ireland contestants, the Kilkenny musical society, the band Perfect Day and members of Junk Couture.
“There’ll also be an appearance from Anne Cassin from RTE Nationwide. There will be a Titanic theme to the night and the Hub will be transformed into the magical ship.”
Michael also urges people to get in quick with bookings as tickets are expected to sell fast.
“Due to the size of the venue, we’re limited to the amount we can sell,” Michael said. “And with word of mouth, and the internet, we expect tickets to go quickly. Word of mouth is very important. The Irish are great for talking.”
Further information can be found on the website www.nationalsummertimeball.com
Photography courtesy of Gary Kavanagh.