Town rallies to keep Jacqueline in US with her son Justin
THE aunt of a local woman living in the United States - who has two weeks to pay university fees or risk deportation and being separated from her young son - says she has been overwhelmed by the support shown by the people of Lurgan.
Last week the Mail reported that Jacqueline Toman, who attends the George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia could lose her student visa if she does not pay $12,000 to complete her business management course. As a single mum to Justin (2), who was born in America, the 30-year-old is fighting a custody battle with her husband, from whom she is separated.
Justin’s nationality status means that Jacqueline, if she loses her student visa status, could be forced by US Immigration to return home and leave him behind. However, her family and friends in Lurgan are fighting to ensure the mum remains in the States and completes her education so that she can find employment, thereby securing a work visa.
A page established on www.gofundme.com has so far raised nearly $4,000 and Dolores has helped organise a fun day at Eire Og Social Club on Saturday to help Jacqueline reach her target. A host of local businesses have offered their support by giving prizes to be raffled at the event, which runs between 1pm and 5pm.
As well as a barbecue, there will be face-painting, balloons, sport activities, stalls and Disney characters Mickey and Minnie Mouse will be paying a special visit! DJ Patrick Morgan will be entertaining the crowds on the decks.
Dolores thanked local businesses for providing prizes to be raffled and well-wishers who had donated money. “The support shown by local people has been unbelievable. We can’t get over it. Everyone has been understanding and really, really nice.
“Jacqueline is so grateful. She just can’t get over how kind everyone has been. It’s made her feel homesick. When I heard what was happening with Jacqueline I was so gutted and didn’t know what to do to help,” she said.
A large crowd is expected to attend the fun day where around 30 prizes are to be raffled. The top prize is a two-night stay in London at the Best Western Phoenix Hotel, second is a 32-inch television and third is a picture of Lurgan Park by Ciaran O’Neill Photography.
Dolores’ nephew Jimmy has also organised a poker drive in Eire Og on Friday at 8pm. Admission is £20 per seat and the prize pot on offer is £250.
Dolores would like to thank everyone who has supported the event or sponsored prizes for the raffle.
Entry to the fun day is £2 per person. Raffle tickets are £3 each and are available from Eire Og, Ciara Gibson, Collen Breen, Dolores Fearon, Maureen Beckett, Jackie Gibson Toman, Kirstie Toman and Maggie Gibson Fearon.
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Weather for Lurgan
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 12 C
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Wind direction: North west
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Wind direction: North west