Over $600,000 was raised to benefit sick children at the 5th Annual Best of Ireland Dinner held at the New York Athletic Club on February 9.
Each year, Graeme McDowell, 2010 U.S. Open Champion and four-time Ryder Cup golfer, has served as the event’s Honorary Patron.
McDowell’s G-Mac Foundation partnered with the Children’s Medical Research Foundation (CMRF) to bring the Best of Ireland event to New York City in 2012.
The CMRF, established in Ireland in 1965, supports the needs of Ireland’s largest children’s hospital—Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital at Crumlin, Dublin. To date, the Best of Ireland Dinners have raised over $2.7 million, which has helped to fund the building of a new in-patient cardiac unit at Crumlin Hospital caring for over 500 seriously ill children each year.
“When I begin my foundation, I wanted to focus efforts on something that was very directed and measurable. It’s truly amazing to see how the funds raised have gone to improving the facilities at Crumlin, and more importantly, help the children and their families heal. People resonate with the cause and its something I am really proud of. I am so thankful for all the generosity,” says McDowell.
Each year, the Best of Ireland Dinner honours esteemed leaders in public service, business, sports and arts.
This year’s honorees were Jim Clerkin, the President & CEO of Moet Hennessy USA, and Brian Leetch, NHL Hall of Famer. Prior recipients include Eli Manning (two-time Super Bowl-winning NFL Quarterback), Moya Doherty and John McColgan (Co-founders of Riverdance), Senator George Mitchell (primary architect of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland) and Ray Kelly (longest serving NYPD Commissioner).
The highlight of last night’s event came when Noel O’Connell took the stage to tell the story of his son Ollie who had been cared for by Crumlin Hospital.
Born with a Congenital Heart Defect, Ollie had six open-heart surgeries in the first 18 months of his life. Noel expressed his gratitude for the excellent care his son was given at Crumlin and for the fundraising efforts that enabled the hospital to provide his son a chance at life.
“It’s your big hearts that have mended so many little hearts,” said O’Connell.
In addition to supporting Crumlin Hospital, each year, the G-Mac Foundation brings children recovering from serious illnesses and their families from all over Ireland to Florida for a holiday of a lifetime.
Ollie and his family were one of the many families who made the trip. To date, the G-Mac Foundation has raised $3.3 million to benefit sick children since it was established in 2011.
ABOUT THE G-MAC FOUNDATION
Graeme McDowell’s G-Mac Foundation is committed to helping seriously ill children in Ireland and the United States. Working with leaders in children’s medicine, the Foundation raises funds for vital pediatric research and critical hospital projects. In addition, the Foundation brings children recovering from serious illnesses and their families from all over Ireland to Florida for a holiday of a lifetime. Graeme is also committed to Multiple Sclerosis charities, a cause that remains as one of his pers