- September 12, 2021
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THE hairdressing industry is rallying behind its “fairy godmother” with a fundraising campaign after her husband was dealt a horrific health diagnosis.
Irish hairdressing icon Maeve O’Healy Harte and her husband Mike Harte were dealt a blow when he was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease last year.
Pal Sean Taaffe, who runs Sean Taaffe Hair Group in Kerry, said it was only right that the industry “give a little something back” to a couple that had helped so many across the community.
Sean, who has worked in the sector for three decades, said he felt compelled to do something once he heard the shock diagnosis.
This led to a fundraising campaign being set up with the aim of going towards some of the expenses the couple will face over the coming years.
Speaking to the Irish Sun Sean said: “Maeve would be considered the fairy godmother of Irish hairdressing.
“She has been involved in Team Ireland hairdressing, which represents Irish hairdressing worldwide. She has been involved in pretty much every charitable hairdressing organisation for donkey's years.
"She runs Irish hairdresser magazine, which again, has been a platform for countless hairdressers over the years, and has helped many Irish hairdressers, both nationally, and also on an international stage.
“They helped me on my career journey. And when I found out that they had this terrible news, I just felt after them doing so much for Irish hairdressing, it was time for Irish hairdressing to stand up and be counted."
Maeve had been involved in the Irish hairdressing industry for around 45 years, while Mick, also known as Jock, had got involved around 2007.
Mick noticed something was wrong back in December 2019, when he woke up with a bad cramp in his leg, which continued over several nights.
Following a number of hospital trips, Mick was eventually diagnosed with MND last October.
Discussing how he reacted to the diagnosis, he said: I went into complete shock and got quite upset as I instantly thought of my sister who had been diagnosed with MND four years earlier and had only lived a very short time after diagnosis.”
Sean said the diagnosis really “struck a chord” with him given that the couple had recently set out to enjoy retirement.
He said: "It hit me very hard. For a couple that had recently retired to be able to enjoy their life to then get hit with this is just horrible.
“Without mincing my words, it is so f****** unfair. It has really struck a chord with me and with all of us in the industry.”
Sean said a number of people got together and “trashed about a couple of ideas” before approaching the couple for their permission to go ahead with the fund-raising campaign.
Explaining why it was necessary, Sean said: "When you look at it and see the expenses that they're likely to incur over the next two to three years, whatever that journey will be, it's not something that comes cheap.
Commenting on the fundraising efforts, Maeve said: “We are both very humbled by the kindness and generosity shown to us. It is just the best industry to be involved in”.
The initial goal for the first stage of fundraising was set at €20,000 – but after being surpassed it was recently increased to €30,000
Discussing the funding efforts, Sean said: "I'm obviously absolutely delighted. But when I say I'm not surprised, I don't mean that in a bad way. I mean, in a very good way.
"They're so well known and have done so much for the industry, it doesn't surprise me in the least that people in the industry has risen to the challenge and to give something back."
He added: "My goal is very simple – it's to get as much as possible to make life a little bit easier for them. If we surpass the set goal, fantastic, but If we don't, we don't. But every euro helps.
“It's obviously all going directly to them to use in whatever way they see fit to make life easier.”
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