Riding to benefit Ireland families of children with life-limiting conditions
LauraLynn, Ireland’s Children’s Hospice, supports families with children needing palliative care, and a small number of children and young people with profound intellectual and physical disabilities. Located in Dublin, it is the only children’s hospice facility in Ireland; as such, there was a need to expand care to families in other regions. The LauraLynn@Home program was created in June 2014 to provide respite care in the comfort of the family home, delivered by the excellent LauraLynn nurses and health care professionals. Their aim is to build on the excellence of care they offer at LauraLynn House and enable all families, regardless of where they live, to access the care they need.
Microsoft rides to support LauraLynn@Home
LauraLynn offers support for children from birth to age 18; all of its hospice care is free for families. The organization relies on support from corporate donations to expand its community of care. Microsoft has supported LauraLynn over the years as a member of its local community, and in 2019 the Datacenter Community Development team gave an award from the Microsoft Community Empowerment Fund. The funding is specifically being used to support the LauraLynn@Home program.
“LauraLynn is part of our local community and everyone at our campus at One Microsoft Place know of the life-changing care and support it provides to families across Ireland. Through software donations, technology training, and fundraising activities, we can help LauraLynn to meet the needs of every child who needs their care,” said Cathriona Hallahan, Managing Director of Microsoft Ireland.
In addition to the Datacenter Community Development support, over the past five years Microsoft employees have been taking part in the Wild Atlantic Way (WAW) cycle event to raise money for LauraLynn. This year was no exception. The week of September 2, 2019, 73 cyclists and 19 crew members completed the 355-km WAW challenge, cycling from Kenmar to Ballybunion. As part of this ride, the team created a donation page for Microsoft employees and set up donation buckets at various events raising €140,000, bringing the total funds raised by Microsoft employees since 2014 to over €400,000.
Ray Snowdon, a member of the cycling team and Director of Business Analytics and Insights at Microsoft, shared that “having grown from just 10 cyclists in 2014 to a team of over 90 in 2019, the charity cycle in aid of LauraLynn has brought the entire team at Microsoft together and helped to generate much needed funds for Ireland’s only children’s hospice.”
“We at LauraLynn are grateful for the efforts made by Microsoft Ireland to support our ongoing work,” said Orla O’Brien, CEO of LauraLynn Children’s Hospice. “The team at Microsoft have always gone the extra mile and this year is no exception, with the cycling team due to take on some of Ireland’s most difficult terrain in aid of LauraLynn. Through the increasing amount of funds raised each year, we have been able to reach out to provide care to an increasing number of children with life-limiting conditions and their families. It is heart-warming to see the enthusiasm and dedication from the Microsoft Ireland team who consistently try to empower the team at LauraLynn to do more for those in need. I would like to thank all those taking part in the cycle and wish them well during their three-day challenge.”
Organizing additional events to maximize impact
The Dublin Microsoft datacenter employees have been involved in other cycling events aside from WAW and held charity fundraising efforts at the datacenters themselves. They have held virtual cycle events where they compete with other datacenters and even One Microsoft Place, the main Microsoft building in Dublin. One of the events they’ve run is called Hell and Back, a mud run solely organized by the datacenter employees. According to Gary McLoughlin, the Datacenter Community Development Program Manager in EMEA, “For the last two to three years running now, they’ve gone out and picked LauraLynn as their charity and partner and donated the proceeds to LauraLynn.”
“It’s amazing the lift everybody gives to this organization, I think for good reasons,” McLoughlin said. “Because it touches everybody really. There’s probably no family in Ireland that is not aware of LauraLynn, unfortunately. You never want to end up there, so you’re going to give to it because you just feel for the families that do have to utilize the services.”
Expanding the scope of support beyond fundraising
Microsoft has also helped empower LauraLynn to embrace technology. By using Microsoft platforms and solutions to keep medical records up to date, doctors and nurses can focus on giving the best care to sick children. Specifically, Microsoft has supported the implementation of green renewable solutions at the LauraLynn facility, improving their insulation and comfort levels for both patients and staff. Through this support, Microsoft plays a key role in supporting 1,100 families and children with life-limiting illnesses annually.
“The team at Microsoft have always gone the extra mile and this year is no exception, with the cycling team due to take on some of Ireland’s most difficult terrain in aid of LauraLynn.”—Orla O’Brien, CEO of LauraLynn Children’s Hospice