Calls are being made for builders, trades people and manufacturers to help build Ireland’s first ever National Respite Centre for children with rare diseases and their families.

The site in Tralee, Co Kerry will be formally launched later, and it is hoped the facility can be built within the next two years.

It is the brainchild of Tony and Mary Heffernan, who tragically lost their five-year-old daughter Saoirse to Batten disease in 2011.

Their son Liam, who is four, has also been diagnosed with the same condition.

More than 200,000 children in Ireland are affected by genetic and rare diseases.

Founder Tony Heffernan explains the type of services the centre will provide to sick kids and their families.

“We will assist and take over the care in line with the parents’ wishes, of their prince or princess, we’ll treat them like royalty,” he said.

“They’ll also be able to relax in a lovely, fresh, open area away from the city, away from the buzz of everyday life.

“One of the biggest things you can give someone who is under immense pressure is a break, and one week per year is not a lot to ask.

“So in essence, we can turn over 1,560 families a year in our Kerry facility, when it’s fully built.”

Anyone who would like to donate to this cause, or help build the facility, can check out the website for more information.

Read more here.

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