The devoted parents of a girl battling leukaemia are raffling off their dream Irish home to raise funds for charity.
Mark Keoghan and his family are originally from Kilkenny but are now living in Staffordshire while he works at East Midlands Airport.
Earlier this year, Mark, 46 and his wife Lucy Keoghan, 36 were given the devastating news that their seven-year-old daughter, Mollie, had leukaemia.
Mollie has been treated at Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre since the diagnosis on July 30.
However, despite this life-changing news, the Keoghan family have seen an opportunity to do good reports Irish Mirror.
Along with their two sons Alfie, 6, and Teddy, 4, the family has decided to sell their beautiful Irish home.
But rather than just but the property on the market, the unique house is being raffled off with a percentage of the proceeds going to Children’s Cancer and Leukamia Group (CCLG) – two charities close to their hearts.
Since the raffle went live on Friday, November 13 they have sold 15,000 tickets at a price of £5.
But the goal is to sell 130,000 by the deadline of the end of January to help both Mollie and their chosen charities.
Mr Keoghan explained how life changed forever when his daughter was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia.
He said: “It was on July 30. She had been previously complaining about having sore legs, arms, head – her body was sore from almost March.
“We had been to the hospital and A&E about five times in the middle of the night and as usual, when you get there, she had a miraculous recovery, so they say ‘go home and give her some Calpol.’
“Then, she might be fine for a few weeks but if we went for a family walk, Mollie would be dragging behind. The final straw was that night when we took her in at 4 am when she was up in pain.”
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After a worrisome drive to the hospital, Mark said there was a two hour wait where Mollie’s condition was looked into and tests taken.
“By that stage, the ward she was going onto wasn’t a sign of good news,” Mr Keoghan added.
“We’re then invited into that little room which no parents ever want to visit where we’re told that our daughter has leukaemia.
“That’s how it all started, our life was turned upside down that day. She was taken to the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham – which is the specialist children’s oncology in the area – and that’s been our life since.”
Mr Keoghan said Mollie has to have monthly blood transfusions, which Mollie has nicknamed her ‘strawberry juice’, to allow her to have chemo.
From there, Mollie is more perked up but Mr Keoghan said seeing his daughter’s experience of hair loss and frailty is “heartbreaking”.
While the decision to sell his dream house was difficult, Mr Keoghan said that it was a no-brainer when compared to the condition of his daughter and the chance to help others.
He said: “It was my dream to build the house there and eventually settle down.
“However, life changes and you have to deal with the cards you’re dealt.
“It wasn’t until Mollie’s diagnosis when we kind of realised that there’s more to life than just bricks and mortar. Life is precious and let’s plan ahead.”
Mollie will be attending the QMC for her entire treatment which is two and a half years in total.
Mark said she is currently responding well to treatment and will be starting block four out of five in December – a two month block of intense Chemotherapy and Steroids which he says will be very hard on Mollie.
In terms of the house that’s up for grabs, the four-bedroom property styled like a barn really is a dream house.
Situated on the side of a hill with stunning views across the countryside, the property is only eight miles from the medieval city of Kilkenny.
Despite its outwardly old appearance, the house was constructed in 2010/11, using extensive amounts of natural limestone that was sourced from family land.
As for the amenities on offer, the house has underfloor heating and a pressurised water system that’s fed a 400ft deep well that’s also on-site.
It’s also possible to see local deer in the garden who wander in from the adjacent forest.
The father-of-three said the idea to raffle off the house came from seeing similar incentives and hoped it would create “more of a buzz” while raising money and awareness for Mollie’s illness.
“If nothing else, it keeps our heads straight,” he said.
“We have a lot of time off work now due to furlough to look after Mollie and the two boys, but it’s nice to have something else to focus on.
“If we sell all the tickets before that date, there will be a draw when the last ticket is sold.
“If all the tickets aren’t sold, there will still be a draw for whatever is in the pot – 75 percent of which will go to the winners, 5 percent will go to the charity, the remainder goes to the organisers which are Rafall.com.
“We get nothing, apart from keeping the house. I understand how people can be dubious about these things, but we get nothing. If it works, it works. If it doesn’t, it’s time for Plan B,” he said.
For those interested in participating, details on the raffle can be found on the events’ official page here and you can also find more information on Facebook (Dream House Ireland) and on Instagram (windreamhouseireland).