When Saundra Matthews decided to hold a fundraiser for the Mater Hospital, she knew it had to be a rockabilly night with “Riley and the Moonrockers”
Saundra knew she wanted to give something back to the Mater Family Heart Screening Clinic. She and her family members have attended the clinic for a number of years.
“I remember walking up the stairs and seeing all the posters on the wall about patients’ lives and patients’ families. I just felt so many people in our family had come through the doors of the Screening Clinic and through the doors of the Mater Hospital that I decided it would be nice to give something back.”
A resident of Artane on Dublin’s northside, by Coolock and Beaumont, Saundra knew she’d host the event in the Artane Beaumont Family Recreation Centre. But it wasn’t until she was invited out by a Dutch colleague that she had a starring act for the night.
“It was Meryl, he’s from The Netherlands, he’s Dutch and he introduced me to Reilly and the Moon Rockers. I went to see them in the Ivy House and then in the Globe Bar in George’s Street.
I just couldn’t get over them. I thought they were outstanding and I just thought well they’ll be a great team for the fundraising event. It was just everybody was happy, everybody wanted to dance and that’s what rockabilly does, they don’t say, ‘Will yous get up and dance’, they never have to ask you to dance, the music starts and everybody is up off their chairs dancing.”
“Anybody who doesn’t know rockabilly, it’s rock’n’roll with a twist. If you’re a man, you style and curl your hair and turn your jeans up. And the girls wear underskirts and do up their hair or wear a hankie tied over it.”
After deciding the act and the venue, Saundra got in touch with our Fundraising Officer Elizabeth Kearns for advice. We offer support to anyone interested in community fundraising for the hospital.
“So the ball starts rolling from then. I went off and I booked the hall. Then I booked the band, ‘Reilly and the Moon Rockers’. And I went off and ordered the tickets. My friend’s son, Alan Mongey, works in Dubai. He’s an artist and he was home on holidays. He helped me with the poster which was wonderful and the posters from the Mater Foundation were also a great help.
I met with my friends. I go line-dancing on a Wednesday and we always have a cup of tea after it and I’ve five very wonderful friends. I explained to them what I was going to do and I said, ‘I wouldn’t be able to do it on my own but I would more than appreciate the help’ and they were more than willing to help.
I knew the rockabilly night was going to go down well. We planned it for the Halloween weekend and I knew the fact that we could dress up for the night would be a draw.
People were buying dresses online and they were buying underskirts and my friend she’s a sewer, she helped out a number of people with clothes that night and underskirts and a very good friend, she’s a bar woman in the club she leant myself and my friend two dresses that her daughter loved and wore to her debs rock n roll dresses and it was just you know there was buzz on the night, everybody said it was like being at a party.”
“We’d a lot of hard work pushing the tickets but we got there. People were so generous, they were just so generous. They, it was just, I couldn’t thank people enough.
“Did I enjoy the night? Absolutely, absolutely loved the night and I loved even the next day going down to the club, we have singing from 6 until 8 o’clock and I felt like a celebrity walking down. Everybody was just saying, ‘Well done, well done’, so yes, there was, there was pleasureful time out of it you know and, and to take it on and succeed, happy days, happy days, happy days for me and happy days for the Heart Foundation and happy days for the club, they got a few bob out of the bar. So everybody got something.”
Saundra raised €2,000 in much-needed funds for the Family Heart Screening Clinic. The local community loved the night and everyone pitched in to help. It was a massive success.
The Family Heart Screening clinic checks families of those who have been affected by or who have lost loved ones to cardiac conditions, including Sudden Adult/Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS). Over 9,000 people have been screened for often hidden and potentially fatal diseases since the clinic opened in 2007 – and this figure includes 60 children as young as eight years of age, who have been screened in the last year at the clinic, which this year celebrates its 10th anniversary.
Saundra’s sister and brother were diagnosed with cardiomyopathy following screening at the clinic and have had defibrillators fitted.
Screenings are critical in order to protect people affected with hidden cardiac conditions. All proceeds from Saundra’s Rockabilly fundraiser will go to help these patients are others of the Mater Heart Screening Clinic.
The Heart appeal to which Saundra has contributed also funds research into the causes and treatment of the disease, and with one person under the age of 35 passing away from an inherited cardiac condition every week in Ireland, such state-of-the-art screening technology and ongoing, in-depth research is badly needed.
Donate Today to help save lives across Ireland through the purchase of new equipment and the funding of new research at the Mater Family Heart Screening Clinic.