Latest Laois Event: Fundraiser for Portarlington man Jonathan McCowen
Portarlington man Jonathan McCowen’s Fundraiser
Campaign Launch Date: July 1 2022, 6pm
In August last year, Portarlington native Jonathan McCowen had a good and
‘normal’ life: a secure job, a cheeky, cute 2-year-old daughter, Darcy, and he
and his beautiful wife Sherie were expecting their second daughter Riley.
Sherie was six months pregnant in September 2021 when everything changed
One day a colleague at work asked Jonathan if he was ok. She said that he was
“talking slowly”. He began to notice other symptoms.
Appointment after appointment of “ruling out” the causes of these symptoms
led to an awful and terrible truth – everything pointed to ALS.
ALS is a cruel Motor Neurone Disease for which there is no cure.
He and Sherie held onto every hope it was something else. Unfortunately, not
only was it ALS, but in Jonathan’s case it is far more aggressive than doctors
In less than a year, his condition has deteriorated to the point that he cannot
talk or walk. He is fed via a PEG tube into his abdomen.
Jonathan moved to Australia many years ago, and at the time of his diagnosis
he was living in Vancouver, where both his daughters were born. His links with
Portarlington have remained very strong over the years.
Jonathan “Micko” was a member of the Portarlington Senior Football team
that won the County Final in 2001. His father, the late Jon McCowen, was on
the Portarlington County Final winning teams in 1954, ’55 and ‘59.
Shortly after his ALS diagnosis, Jonathan came home to Ireland for a short visit
and was delighted to be present to see the Portarlington Senior Football team
win the County Final again in November last year.
Jonathan was also a very keen tennis player in his younger years, and
according to Portarlington Lawn Tennis Club Facebook page, “It is recognised
by all the long-playing members of the club that Jonathan was the finest player
the club ever produced”.
The friendships forged during those sporting years stood the test of time. After
Jonathan’s diagnosis, his friends rallied around to do what they could to help.
In January of this year, when baby Riley was born, his friends set up a rota and
along with family members, took turns to go to Vancouver to support Jonathan
and Sherie with hospital appointments and their move back to Brisbane.
Those friends are now starting a fundraising campaign to provide a home and
secure future for Johnny’s girls.
There are several fundraising events in the pipeline, as well as a Go Fund Me
You can also follow their progress and show your support on social media.