AN IRISH dad, Ben Folkman, has started his busking road-tour around the 32 counties of Ireland to help fundraise for his five-year-old son with Cerebral Palsy.
Ben, from Cootehill, Co Cavan, was joined by six of his friends as they started their busking tour last Sunday, June 19, in Dundalk, Co Louth, and will continue until this Saturday, June 25.
Ben is hoping to raise €40,000 for his son, Jarrah, who has quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy, Cortical Visual Impairment Blindness and Refractory Epilepsy, through his passion for music in a tour called "Jammin' for Jarrah".
To complete his tour, Ben will be playing at the Errigal Country House Hotel in Cootehill this Saturday at 8pm where there will a raffle and auction including prizes such as a guitar signed by Def Leppard, a signed Republic of Ireland football jersey, a signed Leinster rugby jersey, and a Manchester United programme signed by Roy Keane.
Ben said: "Having a child with severe neurological and physical limitations has been extremely challenging for the family but now that Jarrah is getting older it’s becoming intensely more of a challenge."
As Jarrah grows his parents will struggle to safely lift him into the car seats, the bath and up the stairs – everyday tasks that most parents take for granted. Having the correct equipment is crucial for Jarrah, it would provide him with comfort and opportunities to live a full life.
He explains that despite the difficulties faced by Jarrah, this doesn’t stop him from smiling and communicating with his loving parents Elysha and Ben. “He’s our inspiration,” he added.
"Jarrah has the whole town rallying together and it looks like he’s now set to inspire the country. That’s why we’re setting out on this mission, to spread awareness, and to also raise much needed funds so Jarrah can get the supports he needs and deserves," said Ben.
"He’s growing bigger fast and often has to be carried. He needs special equipment and funds raised will go directly towards that. This initiative is also a celebration of his life and his courageous spirit. He’s just such a beautiful young boy, I’d do anything for him. He deserves a decent life like any of us."
You can keep updated on Ben's tour through his Facebook page. View some of the photos and videos he has posted so far below:
See where Ben will be playing:
Tuesday, June 21
1. Co Longford – Main Street Longford town
2. Co Westmeath Golden Island Shopping Centre, Athlone
3. Co Mayo –Main Street Ballyhaunis
4. Co Galway – Monroe’s Tavern Galway City
Wednesday, June 22
1. Co Offaly – Outside Oxmantown Mall, Birr
2. Co Laois – Portlaoise Market Square
3. Co Carlow – Kennedy Avenue (beside Pennys & SuperValu), Carlow Town
4. Co Kilkenny High Street, Kilkenny City
5. Co Tipperary –Lonergans Bar, Fethard
Thursday, June 23
1. Co Clare - O’Connell Street (beside Dunnes Stores), Ennis
2. Co Limerick – High Street Limerick City
3. Co Cork – Millstreet
4. Co Kerry – Tralee Pats Bar
Friday, June 24
1. Co Waterford – City Square Shopping Centre, Waterford City
2. Co Wexford – North Main Street Wexford Town
3. Co Wicklow – Greystones Meridian Shopping Centre
4. Co Dublin – Foleys Bar, Baggot Street
Saturday, June 25
1. Co Kildare –The Square Maynooth
2. Co Meath – Navan Shopping Centre, Navan
3. Co Monaghan – Main Street, Carrickmacross
4. Co Cavan – Cootehill (Outside Sean’s Diner)