Campaigning and Awareness Raising Shortlist 2019

Liz Collins

DEBRA Ireland, Dublin.

Liz’s daughter Claudia was born 15 years ago with a rare genetic skin disease called Recessive Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB). EB is an incurable skin blistering condition that affects all of the body, inside and out. It is often described as ‘butterfly skin’ because skin blisters at the slightest touch requiring Claudia to be bandaged from head to toe as a protection from everyday life. For 15 years Liz has had to subject Claudia to an excruciating routine of dressings changes.

While dealing with all of this, Liz has been a dedicated volunteer with DEBRA Ireland. DEBRA’s fundraising has more than doubled in the past 5 years and that is in no small part due to Liz attending media interviews and even corporate presentations with the charity. She has appeared on the Late Late Show, Nationwide, Ryan Tubridy radio, and endless press interviews. She is a natural storyteller and connects with people in a very special way. Liz really prepares for all speaking tasks she has been set. If she’s talking to a  school, she can really help teenagers get into the mindset of empathising with Claudia. If she’s talking to a room of women she’ll talk about the impact of EB on her marriage.

Liz has also taken on a number of challenges for DEBRA Ireland including 15 years running the Women’s Mini Marathon, a number of years doing the Kerry Challenge and a five day trek to the Arctic. She has also been dedicated to lobbying the HSE for years for proper services for EB children and set a precedent around care packages for children with EB. As a result of Liz’s work, they now have support of nurse in the home. She has given of her time endlessly and often after facing no sleep, a full day at work and a full bandage change.


Lexie Delaney

Inner City Helping Homeless and North Dublin Bay Housing Crisis Community, Dublin.

At just 10 years old, Lexie has been helping the homeless for 4 years now raising thousands of euro to buy much needed supplies for different groups to hand out on soup runs. Lexie was moved to get involved at age 7 when she saw a young homeless boy on Grafton Street. After buying him a meal, she then spent a chunk of her communion money on supplies for the homeless. The rest as they say is history!

She has hosted jumble sales in her garden selling her old clothes and toys to buy warm clothing, sleeping bags and toiletries to make up feel good packs. She encouraged her school to get involved with all of the children bringing in warm clothes and toiletries which were then collected by Inner City Helping Homeless.

For the last 3 years she has also raised funds to support the North Dublin Bay Housing Crisis Community who host a Christmas party for over 400 children living in emergency accommodation. Lexie’s dedication brought in donations from across the world and ensured the children had toys at the Christmas party. This summer alone Lexie raised over €3,000 which was spread among a number of charities supporting the homeless.


Johnny Fox

Pieta House and Tallaght Athletics Club, Dublin.

Johnny Fox sadly lost his son to suicide a number of years ago. Johnny was determined to make a difference in the lives of others in need. Along with his wife Gertie, he formed part of the committee that organised the first ever Darkness into Light walk with Pieta House. Although Johnny is almost 80, he is still there every year from the night before setting up and until the very last person crosses the line, clapping them on and giving them encouragement. Johnny has also raised thousands of euro for Pieta House over the years.

Since he was in his twenties, Johnny has coached at Tallaght Athletics Club and has been there every week 2 or 3 nights a week without fail. Highly regarded by all of his athletes, he has been the driving force behind many successes including coaching Rhasidat Adeleke to 200m gold in the European Athletics U18 Championships last year. According to Gerry Wallace, Chair of Tallaght Athletics Club “I first met Johnny in 1979 when I brought my son to try running and he asked what I was doing just standing on the sidelines! Over 40 years later and I’ve now run 32 marathons thanks to Johnny’s encouragement. He would do anything for anyone – he really is a living legend.”