Super heroes for super presents

By Hayden Moore

THE Just Us League managed to hand-deliver over 170 individual presents to sick children in Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital dressed as their favourite superheroes.

The mass toy donation was started by Tallaght man Vinny Whelan in 2015 and has grown ever since with his crime-fighting toy-delivering team called the Just Us League (a play on the superhero team The Justice League) visiting the hospital on a now-annual basis.

Vinny Superman Whelan with all of the toys Our ladys bound compressor

Vinny ‘Superman’ Whelan with all of the toys bound for Our Lady’s

“In the first and second years we were only able to bring toys to certain wards and I decided last year that we were going to put it out there to a lot more people,” explained the father of two.

“The organiser in the hospital told me last year that I covered the whole hospital and that was just such a nice feeling knowing that we were able to do that, so I knew we had to do it again this year.”

Vinny has two little boys, Frankie and Teddy, and he lives in Saggart with his wife Suzanna who also does a lot of the individual wrapping of presents and background organising.

Although he has no ties to the hospital, the real-life superhero has been dedicated to making somewhat of an impact over the past four years.

He said: “I just knew the work they do there in Crumlin. I used to donate every month straight out of my wages, me and my wife would donate €10 a month but you don’t see where it’s going.

“I know it’s going to a good cause, but we don’t really physically see the benefit. So, I wanted to be able to physically give the children something.”

The Just Us League team in Our Ladys compressor

The Just Us League team in Our Lady’s

A friend of renowned Batman cosplayer Alan Fay, when Vinny got him on board, he knew that they had to go bigger and better with their costuming when visiting the hospital.

“My friend Alan Fay, as Batman, is one of Ireland’s best, and we just knew that if he turns up, we have to up our game,” said Whelan.

“Everybody loves a superhero and it’s an opportunity to wear your pants on the outside for once.

“But in all seriousness, these celebrity singers do come in and sing to the families, which is brilliant, but the kids don’t really know who they are do they?

“It just goes straight over their heads, but if you bring Batman in, they’re going to be telling all their friends that they met Batman.”

Next year, Vinny and his team of superheroes have plans to go bigger again and will be taking donations between now and then.

Contact him through his email ‘This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.’ to donate.

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