Big name Irish sports stars and celebrities are backing the inaugural Light Ball (TLB) in Sydney, raising much-needed funds for chosen charities, Pieta House, and beyondblue. The ball takes place on Friday, 25 September 2015 at Doltone House, Darling Harbour, and will attract 500+ attendees on the night – consisting mainly of the enormous Irish expat community living in Sydney, Australia.
Tadhg Kennelly (former Sydney Swans AFL player), Sonia O’Sullivan (former Olympian), Ian Madigan (Leinster and Ireland Rugby), Ian Keatley (Munster and Ireland Rugby), and Paul Martell (comedian and MC on the night) are publicly supporting the cause.
“I’m delighted to support this year’s Light Ball in Sydney charity ball. It is a night not to be missed here in Sydney for the Irish diaspora. Funds are going to two fantastic causes; Pieta House in Ireland, and beyondblue here in Australia.”
TLB have an active following already on Facebook and Twitter, with the hashtags #LightBallSydney #suicide and #selfharm in use. Registrations are already open via this link http://thelightball.oztix.com.
Discussing what led to the inaugural Light Ball in Sydney, Michael Magee O’Connor, co-founder, the Light Ball Ireland and Sydney, said, “In 2012, a committee was formed in Dublin, Ireland, with the goal of organising a charity ball, the Light Ball (TLB), to raise awareness around mental health issues, and raise much need funds for the Irish charity Pieta House, following the sad passing of one of our dear friends in Ireland, Colin Baker.
“Several of the original committee members are now living in Sydney, and recently attended the Darkness into Light (DIL – dil.pieta.ie/) here in Sydney. The turnout for the DIL event made it clear that the support network for the cause in Australia is in fact, enormous. It was an easy decision for the committee to take TLB to Australia for the first time, and our aim is to make a positive impact from the ‘Irish abroad’ here in Australia and back home.”
According to the 2011 Australian census, 2,087,800 residents identified themselves as having Irish ancestry either alone or in combination with another ancestry. The Australian embassy in Dublin, Ireland, states that up to 30% of the population claim some degree of Irish ancestry.
Neil O’Sullivan, TLB Committee Member, said the committee were amazed by the support received by TLB in such a short space of time.
“Despite the seriousness of the issues both charities causes face on a daily basis, it’s been humbling to see the positivity and support shown thus far for TLB online via our social channels, both here in Australia and back in Ireland. Irish history is littered with its population immigrating overseas; our goal from a communication point of view is to carry a view positive message against a very serious subject through the Irish diaspora here in Australia.”
Will Magee O’Connor, co-founder, the Light Ball Ireland and Sydney, concluded, “Much of the hard work has been completed already by our fantastic committee. However, we need people to buy tickets for the ball to raise the much-needed funds. We encourage Irish and Australian people alike to take action and book the all-important tables for the dinner, so we can make a real impact in the fight against suicide, depression, self-harm, and anxiety.”