Remarkable Mr Charity Set to Hit 200k Mark for Worthy Causes

By Jordan McCarthy


Since 2009, Fanta (aka Mark O’Sullivan) has raised a staggering €194,250 for charities such as Marymount Hospice, the Irish Kidney Association, Down Syndrome Cork and other worthy causes, through events such as spinathons and talent shows.
He has become ‘Mr Charity’ and has made a remarkable impact in the community. Speaking to the East Cork Journal, Fanta reflected; ‘‘it started off in 2009. I lost my mother-in-law, of fifty six, to kidney failure. I decided to do an eighties and an auction night, for the Irish Kidney Association. We made seventeen thousand euro that night, in the Rochestown Park Hotel. After that, I got into it (fundraising). I really drove on then. ’’
Almost eight years and €177,250 later, Fanta, as he is known, is on the verge of reaching the €200,000 mark, for funds raised in aid of worthy causes. He is gearing towards another edition – the third – of East Cork’s Got Talent, which takes place next March.
‘‘East Cork’s Got Talent has gone huge. It’s on every year now. The first night (in 2015), I raised six almost seven thousand for Down Syndrome Cork. In 2016, we drove on again with East Cork’s Got Talent and we raised six thousand five hundred for Down Syndrome Cork.’’
There have been dozens of other noteworthy events – each one of them raising much-needed funds for a chosen charity, or a member of the public struggling with illness. In 2017, Fanta took on his greatest challenge yet.
‘‘This year, I did a five hour spinathon back in April. I made fourteen thousand for a local lad, who needed to travel to Holland to get an operation. It was five hours in a full fireman’s suit and I cycled one hundred and eighty one kilometres. I had done a four hour spinathon before. But, that was tough.’’
The gruelling challenge brought the total to €194,250, for funds raised by Fanta, in aid of worthy causes. It all started when the local man came up with an idea to raise some cash for a cause close to his heart. Nowadays, people are regularly approaching him, to help them out.
‘‘People are approaching me all the time. I get so involved, that I actually take the event over! And I think that’s what people are waiting for me to do actually. Only for the support of the people….Like at the moment, I’m preparing for the talent show in March, and there are a hundred and thirty eight tickets sold already. The people around Cork have been brilliant supporters. People are fantastic.
‘‘Hopefully the night for Down Syndrome Cork would close out for the two hundred thousand euro mark. It’s a lot of money, when you think about it! But, all in aid of great charities. I’d probably retire (from fundraising) if I hit it! A lot of time goes into it. But, I get a buzz out of it, when I’m handing over the big cheque.’’
Erich Stack, the award-winning photographer, has worked closely with Fanta in recent years. He told the East Cork Journal; ‘‘Fanta first approached me three years ago about photographing the East Cork's Got Talent in aid of Down Syndrome Cork. He spoke with such passion, about the event and the organization, that it was impossible to turn him down. We have worked together many times since and each occasion has been bigger and better than the last. You know you're in for a fantastic night if he's involved. I think his biggest strength is he doesn't ever give up, if he sets his mind to achieving something, whether it's getting sponsorship from a corporation, getting people involved, or some super human feat of endurance to raise funds, he'll keep going until the very end’’.
Fanta set out in 2009, to make a difference. As we approach 2018, it is fair to say that he has certainly achieved that. By next summer, he will have earned multiple charities, and people in need, a share of €200,000.