AN INSPIRING young girl travels the distance from Limerick to Dublin to raise awareness of the anxiety and mental health issues some children suffer from in silence.
Hailee Guerin, 10, from Murroe, will virtually walk 196km between her home and Dublin Zoo – one of her favorite places.
We often talk about services for adults with mental health difficulties, but not to the same degree for children.
The daughter of proud parents, Andrea and Ian, wants to raise awareness, as well as funds for Limerick Animal Welfare and Children’s Ark at UHL.
Mom, Andrea said she and Hailee say if their story helps even one other family, they’ll be thrilled.
The mother and daughter advise the children to talk to their parents or anyone they trust if they are worried about how they are feeling.
“Just saying your feelings out loud is a big help,” Andrea said.
Shortly after Hailee was born, a number of medical complications were diagnosed.
“She spent some time in the neonatal unit and since then has been under the incredible care of Dr. Barry Linnane at UHL.
“That’s the main reason to donate to Children’s Ark because we’ve seen firsthand how amazing they are.
“When it comes to Limerick Animal Welfare, Hailee is a big animal lover, so when the idea was discussed with her, it was obvious that she wanted to help them too,” Andrea said.
They set up a GoFundMe page for people to donate in support of Hailee’s colossal task of walking 120 miles in just four weeks.
Andrea said Hailee, who is in fifth grade at Scoil Mhuire in Murroe, has suffered from anxiety for as long as she can remember.
“It can really affect his mental health and well-being. Luckily for us, she discovered the Nicole Sweeney School of Dance in Castleconnell.
“After two years of sitting on a windowsill, not saying a word or dancing, she started to come out on her own. Nicole was so understanding and patient.
“We are so grateful that she found this little piece of peace in a home away from home,” Andrea said.
Hailee’s parents, Ian and Andrea; her brothers Alex and Liam, all her grandparents – especially her grandfather Andrew – will support her every step of the way.
“Our whole family is beyond proud of her,” Andrea said.