Derry girl on autism fundraising mission after twin diagnosed

An inspiring Derry girl with a ‘heart of gold’ is on a fundraising mission after her twin is diagnosed with ASD.

Seven-year-old Sienna told her mother Roisin Carlin that she wanted to raise money to help a local group CS, Circle of Support, Autism Awareness. This Saturday, March 26, that’s exactly what she will do.

Sienna’s twin sister, Sarah-Lou, was diagnosed with ASD when she was three years old. Since then, the family has been navigating their journey with this early diagnosis.

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Organizations such as COS Raising Autism Awareness provide parent support, offer sibling support and the opportunity to meet and build friendships and reduce the sense of isolation experienced by families with children who have additional needs.

Sienna decided she wanted to give something back to this fantastic organization and approached her mother Roisin with her idea.

Roisin said: “When Sienna approached my partner Darren and I about her idea, we were so proud but not surprised. Sienna has a heart of gold and always wants to help if she can. The idea was all his from start to finish”

Roisin Carlin with his daughter Sienna

Roisin made an anonymous request through Derry artist Micky Doherty asking for any available support people would be willing to give Sienna.

There was huge public support and a number of local businesses donated money or treats for Sienna to sell as part of her fundraiser.

There has been a massive community response to Sienna’s efforts, and she is now looking forward to completing her fundraiser this weekend.

Roisin said: “Sienna had a vision. She asked if we could set up the gazebo with colorful flags, get a big table, ask the shops in Derry if they could help out and tell everyone to come .

“She then told us she wanted to raise £100 and she would draw a big heart, break it into 10 pieces and every time we win £10 we can color it in.

“Sienna said we could put it up in our window for everyone to see.”

Along with huge public support, Sienna’s family members and family friends have been her biggest supporters.

Sienna and her twin Sarah-Lou
Sienna, 7, will raise money for a local organization helping families facing an autism diagnosis

Roisin said: “His Nana also cooked for us for the fundraiser. His Nana and Granda Carlin are his number 1 fans, they have been so supportive in every way. They are the best.

“Denise Geary, who is one of the founding mothers of COS, has been an angel in disguise. The support she has given our family is unparalleled.”

Those wishing to help Sienna’s fundraising can do so by contacting Roisin via Facebook.

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