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Castleblayney Cancer Society AGM 2014

/Wednesday, April 2, 2014/

Castleblayney Cancer Society AGM 2014

Castleblayney Cancer Society held their A.G.M. in the Glencarn hotel on Thursday 13th March. The chairperson Mairead Mc Guinness welcomed everyone present to the 24th A.G.M.

Prior to commencing the business of the meeting the Chairperson paid tribute to the late Kathleen O Connor R.I.P.who was a supporter and fundraiser for the society.

Tribute to Kathleen O’Connor RIP

Last Christmas brought great sadness to the community of Castleblayney with the death of the much loved and respected Kathleen O’Connor. Kathleen was an amazingly inspirational woman who set an example to all of us on how to live life to the full right to the end, how to be a good friend and neighbour, how to offer support to do good and positive community developments, how to live your faith and make it seem like fun and most of all how to love, cherish and nurture your family.

Mrs O’Connor had a wide range of friends and neighbours. My mother in law was one of those neighbors who described her years in The Crescent as Mrs. O’Connor’s neighbour as the best years of her life. The love, support and encouragement which Kathleen gave her and her many other neighbours through good times and bad, (50’s and 60’s were tough years) enriched their lives. She was a great house keeper and could make a little go a long way. I know that many of the folks in The Crescent would say that was the case right up until Christmas of this year.

She was involved in many community developments in Castleblayney down through the years. She had lots of strings to her bow. She was very involved in the National Council for the Blind and Apostolic Work to name but a few.

I had the pleasure of being involved in a joint fundraising effort between Castleblayney Cancer Society and the National Council for the Blind a number of years ago. Our meetings were held in Kathleen’s house. Those meetings were definitely much more of a social outing than a formal meeting. We would have the craic, do the business and then enjoy the tea and apple tart. Another of Kathleen’s many talents was that she was a great baker. That fundraiser was a huge success where both charities benefited financially. Kathleen seemed to have the gift of being able to mix the business with fun which made it such a pleasure to be associated with any venture she was involved in.

Everyone who knew Kathleen knew her great faith and her devotion to her religion. She was a daily Mass goer and was actively involved in many church activities. Right into her later years she was an active participant in Mass and could read better than most. For me it was the ‘wee chat’ after Mass where that knack of being interested and concerned in what was happening made her faith flow into everyday life and seemed so natural.

Castleblayney Cancer Society and many other groups were fortunate to have Kathleen’s support when she used her wonderful creative talents in the last number of years to knit the Easter Chicks and the figures for the Crib. I’m sure we all wondered how she could make so many chicks and each one of them perfect in such a short time. A factory could not have had her rate of production and she was a lady in her 8th decade. This past Christmas Kathleen excelled herself and made the most beautiful figures for the crib. She wasn’t well enough to sell tickets in the Shopping Centre but with the support of Pete McMahon, Margie, Terry and others she managed in the last weeks of her life to raise €1,000 for Castleblayney Cancer Society and the same for the St Vincent De Paul. Mary was privileged to accept the presentation of the cherub from Kathleen in her bedroom the day before she passed away. I wish to acknowledge Pete McMahon, not only in this last venture but in many others recently and indeed his general support of us and other charities. Also I want to acknowledge Margie Hughes and Terry Burns for supporting Kathleen in many fund raising efforts on our behalf. We want to acknowledge her daughters, Una, Emmer and Rosina for their help knitting the Easter Chicks.

An exact from Dame Cecily Saunders, founder of the Hospice Movement quote refers to “not only dying peacefully but to live until you die”. Kathleen certainly lived every moment of her long life well – right up to the last moment.

If the Castleblayney Cancer Society, the wider community, friends and neighbors are suffering from the loss of Kathleen O’Connor it is her daughters, Una, Emer and Rosina and their families who are most profoundly affected by her death. I believe the longer we have our parents the harder it is to lose them. Kathleen was a devoted wife and mother. Eddie predeceased her by many years but when she spoke of him it was clear that he still was very much a part of her. She was so proud of her daughters, their husbands and her grandchildren and so delighted with the most recent arrival of her great-grandchild. I think that it was a rare thing to have a conversation with Kathleen without hearing the recent news of her children. She too was blessed in the love and devotion shown to her by her girls especially in recent years. Una and herself were constant companions with Emer and Rosina either coming or going on a continual basis.

On behalf of the Castleblayney Cancer Society I offer sincere condolence to Una, Emer and Rosina, their husbands, children and grandchildren and Kathleen’s extended family and many friends. May she Rest in Peace.

A minute’s silence was observed.

The secretary read the minutes of the last A.G.M. held on the 28 March2013

Chairpersons Address

Statistics recently indicates an "explosion" in the number of cancer diagnoses in the next decade. Due the increase in the population of Older People and to peoples lifestyle choices it is anticipated that our society will be challenged to cope. Therefore, the need for the Health service and other associated groups, to continue to fund research into Cancer Prevention and Early Detection is more urgent than ever before. Groups like ourselves can support and help people experiencing Cancer but we too will be challenged and need to look to the future as demands for our service increases and our income is reduced due to the difficult financial climate. In the past year, as Mary the treasurer will report in more detail, that we have had an increased demand on our service with a reduction in our income. Thankfully, due to prudent management of our funds when our income exceeded our expenditure, we continue to have a reserve fund. Currently we continue to support people who travel the long and difficult Cancer journey by:

  • Providing assistance for travel expenses to and from hospital for treatment
  • Providing Home Help and Home Support for people who need care and support at home.
  • Night Nursing and Seasonal Nursing is provided for people who need nursing expertise in their home. This is in addition in care provided by the Irish Cancer Society.
  • Equipment not funded by the H.S.E.is provided
  • Funding for hardship due to loss of income as a result of illness is made available.
  • Childcare in the event of a parent being ill is funded.

The level of funding provided is assessed by officers of the committee in conjunction with the Public Health Nurse, who continues to be the main source of referral to the society. Without the wonderful support of the P.H.N. the service which the Cancer Society provides could not be effective. Like the committee the public health nurses are anxious to ensure that people with a Cancer diagnosis are provided with the support that they need. Also, like the committee they are cognisant of the increased demand on the resources of the society with a reduction in our income. They ensure appropriate assessments are carried out before referrals are made to the committee. This past year a change was made in the management of our contact with the P.H.N. and the dispensing of our funds. The H.S.E, after 24 years of a very effective working arrangement has become concerned about the governance of the distribution of funds to patients. Mary, our treasurer, with the support of the secretary, Teresa has worked with the Nurses to overcome these issues with success.

Daffodil Day was a washout last year. Instead of raising €12,000 which was our target figure we raised €7,000.This was due to the shear hard work of our wonderful volunteers despite the wind and the rain. It is important to acknowledge the many people who came to help and support us last year .Funds raised on Daffodil Day are sent to The Irish Cancer to provide:

  • Night Nursing for people who require End of Life care.
  • Funding for Oncology Nurses in the Cancer Treatment Centre’s
  • Cancer Information Units in the main treatment centre’s. 
  • Cancer Information Helplines

Last year we considered formalizing our links with the Irish Cancer Society. However, in light of the revelations in relation to the use of funds by the national charities and the large expenditure on Salaries, we decided to continue with our current arrangement in managing our funds. A new charity regulator has been appointed and we will wait and see what regulations will be introduced and how they will impact on all charities. It is important to highlight the all moneys donate to Castleblayney Cancer Society are used to directly support people in our area effected by Cancer . The are no administrative cost and all of the work of the committee is done on a voluntary basis,

The committee have reviewed our constitution and updated it .We are required to appoint a second trustee. This matter is on the agenda to considered.

It was agreed at last years A.G.M. that an advert would be placed in the local papers inviting local taxi companies to express an interest in transporting people to hospital for treatment and to indicate their rates. During the year the secretary got two replies to this advert. However it is the person requiring the transport who will decide which company will transport them.

A new development this year was the setting up of a support group for people living with Cancer. This was spearheaded by Nuala Mc Quillan and Connie Mc Cahey. The sessions were held in the Enterprise centre on a Friday morning. Two therapists provided the service and the society were involved in providing funding. The group was called Dreams. The support group ran through the summer but was suspended before Christmas due to poor attendance. The organisers will do some research into the reasons why attendance dropped and the lack of uptake and will consider running the group again later in the year.

The chairperson thanked her fellow officers for their work and support through the year.

This concluded her report.

The treasurer reported that despite the downturn in the economy, the public continue to fundraise on our behalf. She outlined a variety of events that took place throughout the year. These included Birthday donations, Sponsored walks, Coffee mornings & cake sales, Ladies Mini Marathon, Golf classics and Head shaves. She paid tribute to the young people who organised events during the month of November. She was heartened by their eagerness to raise awareness for the Cancer Society and complimented their financial achievement. She also drew attention to money received from the very young mentioning a local crèche donated money in lieu of Christmas gifts. She acknowledged the children who gave some of their Confirmation money. She mentioned that some people choose to donate anonymously and expressed our grateful thanks to everyone who supports our charity.

In the breakdown of Income and Expenditure, the treasurer reported that outgoings exceeded Income by nearly €20,000.00. However, due to reserves from previous years, the Cancer Society are still in a position to provide support to those in need of our service. The outgoings for 2013 was just under €70,000.00.The bulk of the expense was providing transport to clients attending hospitals in Cavan, Drogheda and Dublin. The rest of the expenditure was used to provide Home Support and some financial assistance. She explained that referrals come primarily via the Public Health Nurses and expressed sincere gratitude for their co-operation. She attributed the smooth running of the service to their vigilant assistance.

The treasurer also reported that the Cancer Society is now eligible to receive Tax Refunds on donations in excess of €250.00. Permission was granted from the Tax Revenue, so anyone who would like to know more about this can read all about it on our tax effective giving page.

In her conclusion she expressed optimism for the coming year and encouraged people to continue supporting the charity, reminding them that every cent raised locally is spent locally.

The amendments to the constitution were adopted.

There were no changes to the officers following elections. Ursula Mc Guigan was appointed as a trustee . Pete Mc Mahon was nominated to the committee. Otherwise the committee were elected in block.

Chairperson Mairead McGuiness, Secretary Teresa McGuigan, Ass Secretary Tracey Liddy O’Connor, Treasurer Mary Connolly, PRO Tracey Liddy O’Connor. Committee Members – Marie Doherty, Tina Carragher, Ursula McGuigan, Lexie Oliver Genevieve McEneaney, Mary McMahon, Ruth McCully, Janet Hill and Fr Pat McHugh., Dr Mary Flanagan, Mary Smith, Linda Finnegan, Bernie Ruddy, Deirdre McGinn,

Due to the shortfall in the societies income in the past year a major fundraiser was proposed and after discussion it was agreed that a subcommittee would look at the options for an event later in the year. The annual golf classic in memory of the late Una Cunnigham will be held in May. Una’s family and friends have organised this very successful event for the past number of years and donated the proceeds to Castleblayney Cancer Society.

The meeting concluded with the launch of Daffodil Day by the members of the Gardening Club in Memory of their esteemed member Michael Lenagh R.I.P. who passed away in the past year . Michael was a keen gardener who was blessed with green fingers. Micheal and the gardening club members raised funds on numerous occasions for the society, by selling the produce.

Michael’s daughters Anne and Mary joined the gardening club members in the launch.

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