Football isn’t a matter of life and death – life is too precious!

Now and again an issue comes along that puts everything else squarely into perspective, as Padraic Deane explains in this guest post.

“Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that”. That was a famous quote from the late Bill Shankley, former Liverpool FC manager, referring of course to that foreign football game – soccer.

And we’ve all been on this blog involved in or on the fringes of intense debates about various aspects of Mayo Gaelic football (the native variety) and it provides endless hours of great community, communications, knowledge and entertainment.

But getting back to that Shankly quote – we all more or less go through life thinking that our daily issues are the biggest burdens that exist, and that we ‘re shouldering the  problems in the world. And it’s only when we stand back and see or hear of other people’s problems, that we realise how lucky we actually are and how precious life is. I’ve a short story to tell you that makes that so very true.

Next Sunday, most contributors to this great blog, along with many of our family members and friends, will make the pleasurable pilgrimage to Hyde Park in Roscommon for the real start of our championship and to see our warrior athletes take on the Rossies in their field of dreams. I haven’t too far travel from my house with it’s Mayo flag flying alongside the Roscommon one (married to a Rossie).

But as you make your way to the Hyde on Sunday, you may encounter some local ladies and men in orange t-shits and hoodies asking you to buy a ticket for the Join Our Boys Trust charity, and if you can afford it, I would urge you to please do so.

The Naughton Family - Join Our Boys

Photo: Lauryn O’Connor

There is a family in Roscommon town that is made up of a mother, a father and three wonderful young boys (aged eight and twins who are four). Sadly these three lovely young boys will tragically be dead in their late teens or very early twenties at best. They suffer from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, which is caused by faults in the gene found on the X chromosome, and it is a 100 per cent fatal, neuromuscular disease that affects one in every 3,500 boys. But imagine three boys in one family with this diagnosis?

On the 9th of November 2012, Paula and Padraic Naughton learned that their three young boys had this terrible fatal illness, and their lives and dreams were changed beyond our comprehension. As you are online when reading this, please check out the Join Our Boys website (here) to learn more about the family and this story, which will melt the heart of the toughest of men – the saddest story of a family’s future that I’ve ever come across.

I am involved on a committee for the Join Our Boys Trust that was set up to raise €1.2m to build what will in effect be a medical unit, dressed up as a house. As these boys deteriorate and become wheelchair bound, well before they reach ten years of age, we want to have this unit/house built and ready. And in the twelve weeks to date, €230,000 has been raised due to the generosity of thousands of people, but we have a long way to go.

All monies raised will go 100 per cent directly to the charity – there is no one being paid in this Trust. To date, everything has been donated (the VW car for the draw, a €5,000 SuperValu voucher, the office space where the charity is based) and everyone is working for nothing – a real example of Irish community-driven generosity.

If you can help, please look at one of a number of options. You could buy a €10 ticket on Sunday on your way to the Hyde or you or any of your friends or relations (at home or abroad) could buy one online today at the Join Our Boys website.

You can also make personal or corporate donations, organise an event to raise money and provide awareness of the charity. And there is one other thing we can all do – say a quiet prayer for Paula and Padraic Naughton and their three gorgeous boys, Archie, George and Isaac. As I said earlier, we cannot possibly comprehend what they are going through every day.

Many thanks WJ for giving me the opportunity to let my fellow faithful Mayo supporters know about this tragic story. And finally, I’m sure of the kindness and generosity of Mayo people and I know that if they can help, they will do so!

8 thoughts on “Football isn’t a matter of life and death – life is too precious!

  1. Puts things in perspective. Bought a ticket on the linked site but having said that they will be the only Rossie boys I will be supporting Sunday.

  2. A very sad story ,but it puts everything into context as to what is really important in our lives . The Gaa is a great community family and was and will be the heart and sole of many small or large parish who helps out in situations as mentioned in the sad story above . We should be all very happy to contribute a little to this great cause .

  3. Padraic, good luck to you and your colleagues. Please pass my best wishes to Paula and Padraic and their boys. Hope they enjoy the Rossies performance on Sunday.

  4. That would absolutely break your heart. Thanks for sharing it Padraic and WJ – will be keeping an eye out for the crew in orange on Sunday. Every good wish to Paula, Padraic and their gorgeous boys.

  5. That’s hard reading. Have three kids myself (including twins) and can’t even contemplate having to deal with such a scenario.

    Will make sure I find them on Sunday.

  6. What a heartbreaking story Padraic and what wonderful people they are. Thanks for putting it out there. I will make sure to find those orange jerseys on Sunday before I get fixated on the green and red..

  7. I didn’t get as far as the men in orange yesterday though I did spot them in the distance. Bought a ticket online there – best of luck with the rest of the fundraising efforts!

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