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Feakle man’s ‘Covid cut’ head shave to raise funds for The Mater

AS hair salons and barber shops remain closed until July 20, some people have been going to extreme lengths while others have opted for a so-called ‘Covid cut’ – and choosing to do some fund-raising in the process.

Among them is Feakle native Trevor Collins who will have his head saved live on Facebook on Friday night, to raise funds for The Mater Foundation. The organisation is very close to the hearts of Trevor and his family, as his dad Michael had a life-saving lung transplant at the hospital in 2017 and is currently receiving treatment there after contracting a rare form of meningitis.

“We will be forever in their debt,” said Trevor. “There’s a doctor there for everything and when dad took ill first, we were nearly looking at palliative care for dad, but for the fact that we did our own research and got him treated at the Mater.” Almost a decade ago, Michael was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis and by 2017, a double lung transplant was required. “He was as strong, fit man and got very ill, very quickly,” Trevor explained. “It was a scary time and we felt very helpless. The transplant itself involved a 14-hour operation which was nerve-racking for my sister Amy, my mum Breda and myself, but the hospital staff were very supportive.” While the operation was successful and Michael recovered very well, he suffered a bout of ill-health earlier this year. Doctors at The Mater diagnosed a rare type of fungal meningitis and hospitalised him immediately. “He has a big battle ahead,” said Trevor. “He needs a lumbar puncture every couple of days and the condition affects his kidneys and his heart, but we are very hopeful the treatment will work.”

One of the toughest aspects of the situation is the restriction on visitors, but video calls are helping Michael and his family to keep in touch. “We are very aware that there are other patients who are not well enough to take calls and that must very very tough,” Trevor added.

The decision to give something back to The Mater Foundation was prompted by Trevor’s girlfriend, Elaine. As he hadn’t had a hair cut since February, she pointed out that his hair needed a trim and suggested he should consider cutting it for charity. Because Trevor sings and plays accordion with the band, Clover, it made sense to arrange the head-shave live on the group’s Facebook page.

“This way, all of the funds goes to The Mater,” Trevor outlined. “So far, we’ve been delighted with the support. We’re on €1,600 so far, and that’s way beyond what was expected.”

The identity of the person who will do the honours and shave Trevor’s head hasn’t yet been finalised. “I’m planning on doing it out my back garden in Ennis,” he said. “We’re still deciding who’ll do the shave though, and I might even consider getting rid of my beard at the same time.”

Welcoming the head shave initiative, Tom Hickey, Head of Fundraising and Communications with The Mater Foundation said local fund-raising was vital. “We are heartened by the incredible public support shown towards the Mater at this very challenging time began,” he said. “This support is extremely important to us, as it has a direct impact on our patients and our team working on the front-line. We are very grateful to Trevor for his fund-raising initiative, and wish him all the best for Friday.”

Trevor’s head shave will take place at 7pm on Friday on Facebook.com/cloverlimerickireland.

About Fiona McGarry

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Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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