VIDEO: Little Blue Heroes 'raid' Smyth's Toy Store in €30k 'Trolley Dash' to honour brave teen's dying wish
A mega charity event to honour a teenage girl's dying wish to provide toys to sick children for Christmas took place this morning in Navan.
17-year-old Sarah Robinson's last wish was to buy toys for Little Blue Heroes, a voluntary led organisation that supports families of children with serious illnesses.
The initiative helped the Gorey Community School student who sadly passed away in 2019 and her family through her battle with childhood cancer.
The event saw Little Blue Heroes volunteers supported by Bumblebee 100 - a supercar enthusiast groups that raises money for charities including Little Blue Heroes - rock up to Smyths in Navan where there was a 20 minute trolley dash for €30,000 worth of toys for sick children. More than 30 supercars provided by Bumblebee 1000 parked up in Navan Retail Park wowing children and their parents.
Inside Smyth's volunteers rammed trolleys with Lego, games, playstations and cuddly toys that will go towards brightening the lives of less fortunate kids this Christmas.
Among the volunteers was impressionist and comedian Al Foran who entertained the 'dashers' with hilarious impressions of Eddie Murphy, Joe Pesci, Donald Trump and even Sponge Bob Square Pants.
The inspiration for Little Blue Heroes came from the work Navan Garda Alan Keane and his colleagues carried out with charities around the country.
Alan and his wife Annmarie's initiative together with their 250 strong volunteers has raised over €600,000 to families struggling financially. There are currently 560 families registered with the charity that has seen a 60 percent increase in requests for support in last 18 months.
As well as supporting families financially, Little Blue Heroes also makes children honorary members of An Garda Siochana giving them very important task to carry out as crime busting pillars of the community!
"My husband and I and some of his colleague in Harcourt Square Community Engagement Bureau started Little Blue Heroes eight years ago," said Annmarie.
"There were Gardai out on the beat coming across families who were financially stuck for money or the child needed some extra support and Alan and his colleagues were trying to do a whip around for them.
"Alan would get calls in about making children gardai for the day and things like that and his colleagues were doing a lot of work with other charities and we thought why don't we have our own."
"The name ‘Little Blue Heroes’ came about when we found that the vast amount of the children we support have a strong fascination with police uniform, equipment, vehicles, Garda units, etc. This has even led some of the children to make a wish to become an Honorary Garda and become part of the Garda family."
The organisation helps families through different avenues as Annmarie explains:
"Members of An Garda Siochana, social workers, clinical nurse specialists, second year nurses, Laura Lynn nurses, mams, dads, aunts and uncles and grandparents nominate a child to come in to us through our forums that we have.
"We have two aims, financial support for families. Having a child with a serious illness can be financially difficult because one parent has to give up work to care for them. We have given over €600,000 directly to families.
" We also have our Havens for Heroes where we arrange short breaks for Little Blue Hero families who would not normally get a chance to take a family holiday.
"When the application forms comes into us, we contact the local gardai who become their Garda buddies. They get their own bespoke uniform - we have the operational unit uniform, the shirt, the tie, the trousers and we have the detective unit which is a polo shirt and tracksuit bottoms. For vehicles we have Garda cars and bikes for those that use them and special wheelchair leg fleece covers for our wheelchair users. It's important for it to be inclusive."
Annmarie says Little Blue Heroes could not operate without their volunteers and fundraisers.
"We are supported by the Garda Commissioner and An Garda Siochana.
"We are blown away at how the Gardai and the local communities, have embraced what we wanted Little Blue Heroes to be. They have really wrapped their arms around Little Blue Heroes and really looked after our families and our honorary gardai.
"Most of our money comes from amazing people jumping out of planes, walking until their feet bleed, coffee mornings, they are our bread and butter events, without them we wouldn't be able to function."
Full story and photos in the Meath Chronicle this Tuesday