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  • Northside West

Soccer legends aim to score for Hallie

Monday, 18th June, 2018 8:00am

Story by Jack Gleeson
Soccer legends aim to score for Hallie

Hallie Foley needs a heart and lung transplant.

Soccer legends aim to score for Hallie

Hallie Foley needs a heart and lung transplant.

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NORTHSIDERS are being asked to get behind a charity soccer match on Saturday that’s benefiting a beautiful four-year-old Ballymun girl who needs a heart and lung transplant.

Hallie Foley (pictured) was born with congenital heart disease and had her first open heart surgery when she was just three weeks old.

Much of her short life has been spent in and out of hospital and her mum, Charlene Foley, says the family has struggled to come to terms with Hallie’s condition.

“You have to cope because Hallie has two other siblings who know their sister has a broken heart, but they don’t know the full extent of what’s wrong,” she told Northside People.

Hallie took a turn for the worse last year when her heart disease was compounded by pulmonary vein stenosis, which causes shortness of breath and chronic fatigue.

And despite her desperate illnesses she has been turned down twice for the double transplant she needs to survive.

“We were told to make memories for Hallie,” Charlene said.

“They said that when Hallie does start to deteriorate they could give her a shunt.

“It won’t help her live longer but it will help her be more stable.

“There’s no operation that will help extend Hallie’s life.”

The family has no idea what the future holds and nobody can tell them how long they have left with Hallie.

“However, they have bravely decided to try and make the most of their time with their little princess.

“We’re going to make memories with her brother and sister,” Charlene vowed. “We’re hoping to go to Disneyland and Peppa Pig land because Hallie is a big Peppa Pig fan.”

Charlene praised Marian Heary who has been behind many of the fundraising efforts for Hallie to date.

Marian has recently been busy helping to organise the charity match for this Saturday at Dalymount Park.

The two teams are a  League of Ireland Legends selection  and the Garda National Soccer team, who recently qualified for the European Police Championship finals.

Marian’s brother, Shelbourne manager, Owen Heary, who has played with a number of former League of Ireland selection teams is helping out with the project.

“I think this is a great charity to be involved with,” he said. “Especially playing the guards as they’re going away for a big competition so for us to be coming up against them, it gives us a chance to give them a real challenge before they head off.

“But the most important thing is to raise awareness of Hallie and to raise funds so we’re all pulling together for that.”

“Once we put the call out to pull a team together and the lads found out what it was for we had a lot of bodies who wanted to play.

“They all want to come down and want to contribute and even though it’s for a great cause there’s a good squad of players and they don’t want to lose.

“I know the guards are looking forward to it and they’ll have their best players out. We’ve done our homework on them and without a doubt it’ll be a very competitive match.”

Former Bohemians and Wimbledon player Paul Magee who lives in Ballymun is a central figure in organising the match for Hallie.

“The lads always respond to anything for charity and give a dig out and especially for this cause,” he said. “I’m from Ballymun myself so it’s a little bit special for me. 

“It’s also a great challenge for the Garda team to play against a League of Ireland team that includes some ex-pros who have played in the English Premier League and the old First Division.

The Garda National Team manager, Richie Pender from Manor Street, is also looking forward to what will be the squad’s last game before heading out for the European Police Championships in Prague next week.

“We’re getting a chance to play on a top quality pitch against top quality players,” he said.

“When we got the call and heard about Hallie we 100 percent wanted to be involved. 

The Garda squad includes a number of former League of Ireland players and the team made it to the European finals after beating Norway 1-4 in a qualifier last January. 

Richie is optimistic of their chances in the finals next week.

“The game against the League of Ireland will be three days before our first match in the championships and as it’s going to be against strong opposition it’ll be a good, physical game but hopefully it’ll be played in a friendly spirit.”

The fundraising game kicks off at 3pm on Saturday June 23 at Dalymount Park. Tickets costing €10 are available on the gate. You can also make a donation at www.gofundme.com/hallie-foley.

Players from the League of Ireland legends and the Garda National Team pictured with Hallie and her aunt last week.

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here