A fundraising campaign for three children who tragically lost both their parents in a road traffic collision earlier this month has raised more than £100,000 in less than 24 hours.
Patrick Grimley and his wife, Ciera, passed away seven days apart following a crash which occurred on the Gosford Road in Markethill in the early hours of Saturday, November 4.
Their close friend, Ciara McElvanna, who had also been out with the couple celebrating Patrick’s 40th birthday in Dundalk earlier that evening, passed away several days after the collision.
The extended Grimley family have set up a GoFundMe to help support Patrick and Ciera’s three children; Tadhg, Mya and Cadhla.
Lorraine Grimley, whose husband is Patrick’s uncle, posted the fundraiser on Sunday evening.
Speaking to Armagh I, Lorraine said: “It’s going to to take a village to raise these children now.”
And there’s no better village than Madden which, as an entire community, will come together and put its arms around the devastated families.
While the support of that community – and wider public – has been overwhelming, Lorraine says the enormity of what the Grimley family has gone through – and continue to go through – has yet to be truly felt.
“We all live in Kilcreevy here in Madden but I don’t think the impact of what has happened has really hit us,” she said.
“People were approaching me to see what we could do for the children and that’s where the GoFundMe has come from; people just want to help as much as they can.”
The devastation of the crash has been unimaginable and, while the families come to terms and begin to process it all, Lorraine says there will never be any words that will describe the pain they’ve had to endure.
“We’ll never forget getting that phone call,” recalled Lorraine, who spoke of the grief which had been mixed with hope, that those fighting for their lives, would pull through, only for that flicker to fade.
“As adults we can’t comprehend what has happened, so how are these children meant to comprehend this?”
The online fundraiser carries a poignant last family photograph; one of a smiling family – Ciera and Patrick, delighted at a surprise visit from their three children that evening; the pair equally as chuffed – just hours before their lives would change forever.
Said Lorraine: “There are no words. They did everything right that night. They went for a night out and got a taxi home. They sent the children home early to be safe and they got a taxi bus with their friends. It was the right thing to do but, all of a sudden, they’re gone!
“The three wee children without their parents; that photograph was taken that night of the accident. That was a photograph they took in Dundalk and the smiling faces. The children were so happy because they had surprised Patrick; he didn’t know they would be going. The six friends were out and the children gathered around Patrick to surprise him,; it’s just so unfair how it ended.”
The GoFundMe has been magnificently supported in such a short time and Lorraine says it has been overwhelming.
There will be more fundraisers ahead with the Madden club at the centre.
“It’s going to take the village to get these children up. Madden is a brilliant community anyway, no matter what, they will be on hand to help.”
Lorraine witnessed that first hand, as she too lost her father, Colm Loughran, on November 6.
“Daddy died at 84 and the Madden people went from one wake to the other; they’re just good people and they’re very supportive of one another.
“It’s different but I know there are things we need to tie up with Daddy passing away. Patrick and Ciera’s immediate family are having to go through all that right now, but in the meantime there’s three children to be looked after and they’re trying to cope with that in the middle of their own grieving. It’s extremely difficult.”
You can support the Grimley family by visiting the GoFundMe page here.