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Saturday 10 December 2016

Baby Zoe can go home, thanks to €30,000 donor

Baby Zoe Ireland (PA)
Baby Zoe Ireland (PA)
Baby Zoe's parents Gavin and Jenny

Baby Zoe Ireland Drake can finally return home to the United States after an anonymous donor pledged the €30,000 needed for her special medical charter flight.

The tot was born in the Rotunda weighing only one pound and 13oz after her mum, Jenny Drake, went into labour on a trans- atlantic flight last October.

Jenny and her husband, Gavin, needed to raise €67,000 to cover the cost of the medical flight to take their baby home to Tennessee.

A GoFundMe account was set up and it raised €38,000, leaving a shortfall of €29,000.

Jenny spoke of their predicament when she did an interview on RTE radio with Ray D'Arcy on Monday.

D'Arcy brought her back on to the show yesterday and surprised her with the news that an anonymous donor had come forward.

"I have some good new for you," he said.

A text had come through before the end of the Monday programme from a man saying he would put up the €30,000 for the flight, but did not want any publicity.

"We got back to this anonymous, generous, philanthropic person," said D'Arcy. "He 100pc wants to fund the repatriation of Zoe Ireland to her home country of America."

A short statement from the donor was read out which stated: "Unfortunately, I don't have a corporate jet, but I wanted to get in touch to say, as a family, we would like to support them in their quest to get home and donate the remaining amount of money they need.

"I was in the car yesterday and heard their story, so I went home and talked to my wife and daughters and we came to a decision to help them.

"Luckily, I have a successful business, but I like my daughters to take an interest in giving something back.

"I would, however, like to remain completely anonymous and don't want any publicity for doing this."

Am emotional Jenny said she was not going to be able to talk when she heard the news.

"Oh, my goodness. I am speechless. I mean, it's amazing," she said. "I hope I will be able to tell him thank you.

"This just goes to show - I mean, the whole situation has proved it, but it's just one more thing that proves that people are good. They really are."

Jenny said she would speak with Zoe's doctors about getting her home.

"The Irish people have a lot to be proud of, for such a small country to have such a big heart," she added.

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