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Dublin: 11°C Tuesday 30 November 2021

This 11-year-old just had surgery for a brain tumour. Now she wants to help raise thousands for charity

Áine Ryan, from Limerick, has had friends and family around to help raise money for the Beaumont Hospital Foundation.

Áine Ryan with a few of the Knitivity characters
Áine Ryan with a few of the Knitivity characters
Image: Beaumont Hospital

ÁINE RYAN IS 11-years-old, and is from Raheen in Limerick.

She’s just had surgery for a brain tumour, and now faces treatment with radiation and chemotherapy.

Áine is also helping to raise money for charity, with her family, friends and the local community rallying together to support her and her cause.

“She’s super, she really is”

Her mother, Trish, told TheJournal.ie that, following surgery, Áine’s condition is quickly improving.

“She’s doing great,” Trish said. “She’s the healthiest child in Ireland. She had very slight symptoms but was then diagnosed with a brain tumour.

She was diagnosed on 1 September, and then had a big, big operation on 8 September. Áine was treated by really brilliant people in Beaumont, and she was just so patient through it all.

Now set for an intensive period of post-surgery therapy, Trish said the Knitivity campaign was a great way to give back after the care she received, as well as a distraction for what’s ahead.

“The local priest rang me,” Trish said. “He asked if there was anything they could do to help.

We’d the seen the sign [about Knitivity], and we knew people could knit. I thought it’d be a great way to give back. All the staff here were wonderful from the get go. Áine’s thrown herself into it.

Trish said that the local community has responded magnificently.

“It’s lovely,” she said. “People that I might have worked with years ago. Everyone came out of the wordwork, with knitting groups and the lot.”

How does it work?

Knitivity is an initiative from the Beaumont Hospital Foundation, inviting people countrywide to knit one, or all of, three Christmas characters.

The resulting decorative figures will be sold in gift bags, along with a card identifying the name and county of origin of the knitter.


They cost €15, with all proceeds going to the foundation. They can be bought at the hospital itself, online here, or at Haven pharmacies nationwide.

There are already over 300 knitters around the country, with the hospital preparing for thousands of knitted elves, reindeers and Santas to hit the shelves in the coming weeks.

People who want to take part are sent patterns for each of the characters, ID cards to put their name on the figure and an optional message to give the purchaser. They can then freepost their knitted figures back.

The Beaumont Hospital Foundation raises money to help provide the 400,000 patients who go through their doors every year better care.

“It’s terrible for any parent to go through, but I’m 100% confident Áine will make a full recovery,” Trish said.

This was just a way of giving back, something for her to focus on, and it’s gone so well. Everyone’s reaction has just been lovely and I’d encourage people to get involved if they can.

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Sean Murray

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