Tickled Purple for a Great Cause… An Taoiseach Joins Rosanna Davison to Urge Support for Cystic Fibrosis Ireland’s 65 Roses Day

There is just one day to go to Cystic Fibrosis Ireland’s 65 Roses Day annual fundraising appeal taking place tomorrow, Friday April 12th.

Amidst a sea of purple roses at Government Buildings, An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD today joined model and Cystic Fibrosis Ireland ambassador, Rosanna Davison, to urge the public to show its support for people with cystic fibrosis (CF) and turn the country purple this 65 Roses Day.

65 Roses Day gets its name from the way in which young children often first say the words “cystic fibrosis”, and people can lend their support to the campaign by buying a purple rose for €2 or donating online at www.65RosesDay.ie.

Joining in the final rallying call were five-year-old Ruth Forster, from Enniscorthy, who has CF, and her brother, Tom (age 6). The siblings were afforded the VIP treatment as An Taoiseach rolled out the purple carpet to officially welcome the pair to Merrion Street. For Ruth and Tom, 65 Roses Day is personal. It is a day when people come out and show their purple colours in a public display of support for all those affected by CF. It means a lot to them.

Cystic Fibrosis Ireland is funded almost entirely by the public thanks to people’s amazing generosity. This year it is aiming to raise €120,000 on 65 Roses Day to provide a range of much-needed patient and family supports, including: helping to fund the cost of building the new CF in-patient unit at Dublin’s Beaumont Hospital; funding almost 500 patient grants for exercise equipment, fertility treatment, transplant procedures, etc.; and financing six CF clinical posts in various hospitals.

Leading the Way
An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD, highlighted recent positive service developments for people with CF:
“65 Roses Day comes at a time when we are making a lot of progress in the treatment of people with cystic fibrosis in Ireland. People with CF are living longer and healthier lives than ever. We’re approving new medicines, providing new CF units with the new one in Beaumont Hospital just granted planning permission and we are working on legislation on the introduction of soft opt-out organ donation. With the highest rate of CF in the world and some of the most severe types, I want Ireland to be a world-leader in CF treatment and care; we should set the standards for others to follow. 65 Roses Day is an opportunity for us all to help this important cause. I encourage everyone to proudly wear their purple rose tomorrow.”

Julie Forster, mum to Ruth and Tom, has also lived with CF all of her life, but she was unaware until four years ago. She was diagnosed with CF one year following her daughter’s diagnosis:
“When Ruth was diagnosed, I was devastated, it took me a long time to come to terms with it, and there are still days it hits me or I’m so angry over it. My own diagnosis stunned me as I had none of the typical or obvious symptoms. My hope is for all my kids, including Ruth, to live a long and happy life, and reach their goals and achieve their dreams whatever they may be. I hope that the treatments for people with CF continue to improve as much as they have in the past few years and that the treatments are readily available to those who need them. If I could get one message across in relation to CF, it would be to not let CF take over. Live as normal a life as best you can.”

Showing We Care
For former Miss World, Rosanna Davison, this is her third year acting as a Cystic Fibrosis Ireland ambassador to help raise awareness of 65 Roses Day:
“I’m delighted to support Cystic Fibrosis Ireland’s 65 Roses Day once again this year, and one of the many reasons I originally became an ambassador is because the statistics for CF in Ireland really surprised me. This country has the highest rate of CF of anywhere in the world, with 1 in 19 people thought to carry the genetic mutation. The support services and resources for people living with CF have improved but raising much-needed funds and public and media awareness remains critically important, and I felt that I was in a position to bring more attention to 65 Roses Day. I feel hugely honoured to be involved.”

For Cystic Fibrosis Ireland’s Chairperson, Patricia Duffy-Barber, who also lives with CF, 65 Roses Day is about supporting people with CF to live their best lives:
“People with CF are living longer and more fulfilling lives than ever before thanks to improvements in treatment and care. Many are facing new challenges, such as gaining and maintaining employment, securing appropriate accommodation, starting a family of their own and, unfortunately for some, dealing with more complex health issues. 65 Roses Day provides an opportunity for the public to show their empathy for the difficulties faced by people with CF, and to play their part in supporting the range of services provided by Cystic Fibrosis Ireland to make life that little bit easier.”

Highest Incidence
Latest figures from the Cystic Fibrosis Registry of Ireland show that there are almost 1,400 people living with CF in this country – the highest number it has ever recorded – and which is the result of advances in treatment and care. Ireland has the highest incidence of CF in the world for its population size, and some of the most severe types of the disease. The counties with the largest numbers of people with CF include Dublin (344), Cork (162), Galway (89), Limerick (72) and Tipperary (58).

People can support 65 Roses Day by:
• Buying a purple rose for €2 from volunteers, and in participating shopping centres and Spar Stores, or by donating online at 65RosesDay.ie
• Completing a 65 Roses Challenge such as playing 65 holes of golf non-stop, or baking 65 muffins for a bake sale at work, or having 65 friends and neighbours around for afternoon tea – for details visit 65RosesDay.ie
• Texting 65ROSES to 50300 for €2 [Text costs €2. Cystic Fibrosis Ireland will receive a minimum of €1.80. Service Provider: LIKE CHARITY. Helpline: 076 6805278.]

For more information, LoCall 1890 311 211, email fundraising@cfireland.ie or visit 65RosesDay.ie. People can find the appeal on Facebook at facebook.com/CysticFibrosisIreland and on Twitter at twitter.com/cf_ireland. The campaign hashtag is #65RosesDay