Penny Kennedy (Development Associate),
Dentist Anne McIlmoyle, Teacher Amanda Irvine,
Dr Olwyn Hilliard, and Trustee Joe Hyland from
The Smiles Foundation getting loaded up for the
journey to Romania. US32-401PM Pic by Paul
Romanian dream becomes a
A DREAM became reality for a Dromara GP last
week as she and a number of friends stocked up a mobile pharmacy
which will provide much needed life saving care for people in
some of Romania's most isolated areas.
Dr. Olwyn Hilliard first identified the need
for the pharmacy when she and a number of other people from
Northern Ireland travelled to Romania last year under the
auspices of the Christian charity organisation 'The Smiles
She was very moved by the extremely limited
resources available to the Foundation's two doctors who travel
for miles across the Romanian countryside in a rusty old car to
deliver care to the elderly and the sick.
"I could see the need for this van
immediately because the doctors did not have any suitable
transport to go and visit patients," she explained.
"Often, when they get to the patients they
find they do not have the necessary drugs and medicine with
"They can travel as much as 40 to 50 miles to
see patients and that is a wasted journey if they find they
cannot provide what is needed
"This new van will allow them to take a wide
selection of medicines with them." Events to raise funds for the
van have taken place all over the province in places as far
apart as Belfast, Ardstraw, Richhill, Hillsborough, Fermanagh
Money was raised by people taking part in fun
runs and holding coffee mornings and craft sales.
Others packed bags in supermarkets, ran in
marathon relay teams and took part in church pantomimes.
Ice lollies were sold to hot sticky school
children and there were generous donations from pharmacists
province-wide. Over £12,000 has been raised so far.
Once the vehicle was purchased, Brown's Coach
Works in Moira provided the project with some wonderful support
by helping convert it into a bespoke mobile pharmacy.
Dr. Hilliard said she and her friends could
not adequately express their gratitude to all the people who had
helped with the project.
Stocking of the new mobile pharmacy took
place last Thursday evening and she said the generosity
displayed had been very moving.
The van will now be driven to Romania by
dentist Anne Mcllmoyle and Teacher Amanda Irvine.
A warm tribute was paid to Dr. Hilliard and
all those involved in the project by Neil Gordon of Gordon's
Chemists who have been involved with the project since its
"Due to the now renowned generosity of the
Northern Irish people coupled with the tireless effort of fund
raisers, in three short months the idea of a mobile pharmacy has
become a reality," he said.
"Taking advice from volunteers, who had spent
time in Romania; it became evident that prompt action was
required to address the basic lack of resources and equipment
needed to treat the sick and elderly within the area.
"This project will truly make a difference to
the day to day lives of the doctors and will have a positive
impact on the lives of the sick and elderly of North West
"It was an honour for Gordon's Chemist to be
involved with such a worthwhile cause."