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Limerick Podcast episode 17 Limerick Podcast episode 17


Limerick comes together to offer 22-year-old MS sufferer Leon O’ Connor a lifeline

Leons Lifeline Launch: Pictured at the Limerick Strand Hotel for the press launch of the Leons Lifeline fundraising campaign are Deirdre MacMahon, Leons Lifeline, Eithne O’Connor, Leon’s grandmother, Saoirse O’Connor, Leon’s brother, Valerie O’Connor, Leon’s mother, and Richard Lynch, I Love Limerick. Picture: Zoe Conway/ilovelimerick.

Limerick comes together to offer 22-year-old MS sufferer Leon O’ Connor a lifeline


The community of Limerick City and County have come together to raise funds for Limerick animation student Leon O’Connor, who needs to raise €70,00 to receive vital stem-cell treatment in Russia, his only hope to return to his life before it was ravaged by the effects of MS. Leon O’Connor has secondary progressive multiple sclerosis which is affecting his life severely and he has chosen to raise funds to travel to Russia where he can avail of potentially life-changing HSCT stem cell therapy.



Leon said, “Stem-cell therapy isn’t a guarantee but it’s the best chance I have. It’s my only lifeline.”

The launch of the Leons Lifeline Fundraising campaign took place on the top floor of the Limerick Strand Hotel to announce all the upcoming fundraising events taking place in support of Leon and his family.


A well-known member of the public, Irish celebrity chef Rachel Allen will be leading one of the first events by holding a ‘Cooking Demo with Rachel Allen’ on Wednesday, September 25 at 6.30pm at the Limerick Strand Hotel, with Rachel kindly donating her time to entertain Limerick audiences.

The night in the Strand will kick off with a wine reception where audience members can place bids on some amazing prizes in our silent auction. Local chef and food ambassador Tom Flavin will kick off the proceedings with a cooking demo of some of his much-loved dishes. Rachel will then take centre stage to entertain everyone with a demonstration of some delicious autumn dishes. Two lucky participants will win the prize of getting to enjoy the prepared dishes as they are made.

Acclaimed Limerick photographer Tarmo Tulit will also be on-site shooting portraits with all proceeds also going to Leon’s cause to help to save the health of this vibrant young Limerick man.


Also kindly giving up their time to help this young man are the Limerick City Community Radio, who are putting on a 12 hour online ‘Radiothon” on Monday, September 9 from 8 am to 8 pm, playing 12 hours of music, song, and dance featured in hourly shows.

They aim to help raise funds for the cause and also raise awareness of the distress caused to people who are suffering from MS. There will be prominent personalities from the region coming in to chat with the studio, as well as some MS patients and professionals in that field to chat with various hosts.

leons lifeline launch

Val pictured with Rachel Allen

There is a collection at the Urban Co-op on Saturday, September 14 with a portion of the day’s profits being donated to Leon’s Lifeline. The Urban Co-Op is the first co-operative grocery store in Limerick, producing organic wholesome foods at affordable prices.

Bobby Byrne’s pub is holding a Table Quiz Fundraiser on Tuesday, September 19 from 9 pm to 11 pm with teams of four costing €40.

The annual Kingdom Comic Fest on Saturday, October 5 at the Brandon Hotel, in Tralee, have kindly chosen Leon’s Lifeline as their charity of choice. Kingdom Comic Fest is a convention that features comic books, writers, artists, crafters, vendors, gaming, panels, workshops, cosplay, and vendor.


Leon’s Lifeline radio telethon

Leon O’Connor. Picture: Richard Lynch/ilovelimerick.

Also coming up in October is the Limerick Rowing Club’s Table Quiz at Flannery’s Pub on Wednesday, October 16, a Family Fun Day at the Limerick Milk Market on Friday, October 20 and ‘The Gathering Games Day’ on Saturday, October 26 at Thomond Park featuring a collection of games and events, ranging from role-playing and game tournaments. Proceeds will be kindly be donated to Leon’s Lifeline.

Valerie O’Connor, Leon’s mother, and full-time carer said, “We are giving people a chance to give back. We are also trying to create awareness, it’s not just about Leon, it’s about people knowing the extremes of these treatments, like travelling to Russia when they should be available in Ireland.”


For more information email [email protected] and to donate visit

For more stories on Leons Lifeline, click here.

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.