Grateful Couple Hold Barn Dance to Raise Vital Funds for Orthopaedics

25th November 2022
Mr and Mrs Byrne with Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Mr Ogonda and Interim Clinical Manager for Surgical Specialties, Katharine Dane.

“We really wanted to give something back.” The thoughts of James and Annie Byrne, who raised thousands of pounds by holding a barn dance for the Ulster Hospital.

The couple who hail from Donegal, have suffered some very serious health setbacks over the past few years and both have required extensive treatments from hospital staff.

Mr Byrne sustained serious leg injuries in an accident on their farm, when a digger bucket fell on his legs back in 2021. He was transferred to the Ulster Hospital after receiving initial treatment closer to home and spent 15 weeks on the Orthopaedic ward to recover from major surgery. This came as a huge blow to the family, as just one year previous to this, Mrs Byrne was critically ill with COVID-19 and had to be rushed to the ICU in Sligo Hospital, where she was placed on a ventilator to help her breathe while she fought the virus.

Mr and Mrs Byrne are extremely grateful for the care and compassion they both received while trying to cope with their individual medical issues. They felt very strongly that they would like to do something to show their appreciation to the hospital staff who helped them regain their health. They live in a very supportive countryside community and thought it would be fitting to hold a Barn Dance to raise some money. Family, friends and neighbours helped organise the event and local businesses donated prizes for the raffle. The 500 tickets that Mrs Byrne had printed completely sold out!

The event was great craic, with lots of singing, dancing and laughter filling the hall. Everyone was very generous in their donations, raising an incredible £8506.56, which the couple have divided between the two teams that cared so well for them in their time of need.

The Byrne family recently returned to the Ulster Hospital to donate an amazing £4253.28 to the Orthopaedic Department, which will be used to fund specialist training in Plastics and Orthopaedics for Nursing staff. Mr and Mrs Byrne conveyed their thanks by saying, “We really wanted to give something back and raised money to show our gratitude to the hospital staff. We really appreciate everything that Mr Ogonda and the Nursing team have done for us; it’s a long road to recovery but we’re getting there. We hope this money can be used to benefit others who need the care of this wonderful team.”

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Mr Ogonda was delighted to receive this very generous gift on behalf of the Orthopaedic Team, he said, “I would like to express how grateful the team are for this very kind donation from Mr and Mrs Byrne. This incredible amount of money will be put towards specialist training in Plastics and Orthopaedics for our Nursing staff, to further their development opportunities and improve services for our patients.”