Actor Domhnall Gleeson has urged people across Ireland to get behind a nationwide coffee morning in a bid to raise €2million for ‘extraordinary’ Hospice services.
The Hollywood star is supporting Bewley’s Big Coffee Morning Social for Hospice, a fundraising drive which has generated €43.2million since 1992.
He joined Hospice hosts and volunteers at the iconic Bewley’s café on Dublin’s Grafton Street and asked everyone in Ireland to host or support this year’s event on September 21.
Both of Gleeson’s grandparents – his father Brendan’s parents – spent their final days in St Francis Hospice in Dublin.
“My grandma (Pat) was only there for a few weeks and that was my first experience of being around a Hospice,” said the Harry Potter and Star Wars actor, 40.
“I was incredibly close to her and I was struck by the atmosphere of care and kindness. She had a rough journey before she got there – and all of a sudden, that difficult road seemed less punishing to travel.”
He recalled thinking she seemed ‘safe and cared for’.
“It was such a relief.
“In terms of my granddad (Francis), we had been looking after him for a long time, probably about a year, and didn’t think he was going to last that long in Hospice, but he was there for months.
“The care was extraordinary, he had a new lease of life, it (Hospice care) gives their body the care it needs and makes them feel special.”
He told how Francis constantly joked with staff who, he said, see beyond the illness or life-limiting condition.
“There’s a focus on creating a connection and patients are not just a problem to be solved on the way to the next problem along the corridor. Each person’s journey is different and each one matters to the people working there.
“I don’t know how they do it, there is an incredible giving of oneself.
“So I am asking everyone on September 21, or whenever suits them, to organise, support or donate to a coffee morning.”
Organisers hope to raise €2million in 2023, returning the fundraiser to pre-Covid levels and bringing the total raised since its inception beyond €45million.
Together for Hospice, The National Hospice Movement, represents 26 Hospice and specialist palliative home care providers supporting patients and their families.
Funds raised locally stay local and go back into each Hospice service, paying for medical and general staff, palliative care beds, home care visits, specialist equipment and new hospice builds.
Dr Sarah McCloskey, Chairperson, Together for Hospice, said: “We are delighted Bewley’s Big Coffee Morning Social for Hospice, which is one of Ireland’s longest and most loved fundraisers, is now entering its fourth decade of raising funds in support of Hospice in-patient and community services around Ireland.
“It is a chance to celebrate our many coffee morning hosts across the country. This ongoing support is invaluable and funds vital services and quality initiatives enhancing care for patients living with a life limiting illness.”
Jason Doyle, Managing Director at Bewley’s Ireland & UK, said the company has stood “side by side” with Hospice since 1992.
“Our business was founded on the principle of caring for people and communities, so we urge everyone to host a coffee morning social to help support the incredible work Hospice carries out every day.”
*Register to host a coffee morning to support your local Hospice on September 21, or on a date that suits you, at hospicecoffeemorning.ie or call 0818 995 996. If you can not host or attend one, you can make a donation at hospicecoffeemorning.ie/donate.”