Cork woman runs more than 180km in aid of Mercy hospital

A Ballyvolane woman clocked up more than 180km in aid of the Mercy, writes CHRIS DUNNE
Cork woman runs more than 180km in aid of Mercy hospital
Louisa O'Callaghan, who undertook the Rebel Legends Challenge in aid of the Mercy.

WHEN the story of this pandemic is written the front-line heroes — who risked their own health, enduring burn-out and exhaustion, saving countless lives — will go down in history.

“The health care workers have worked tirelessly keeping us all safe,” says Wayne O’Driscoll, of Bling Hunters, Pop up Races.

Supporting the Mercy University Hospital Foundation appeal, the ‘Rebel Legends Frontline Hero Challenge’, was created in order to help raise essential funds for the additional PPE and also to help purchase a Nanoclave Cabinet, a vital piece of equipment, which will disinfect equipment and will be of huge benefit to the Mercy’s front-line workers.

The Mercy Hospital Foundation needs €100,000 in order to purchase essential PPE and the Nanoclave Cabinet.

“The response to the virtual run has been phenomenal all over the country,” says Wayne.

“People walked, ran, and cycled various distances over days, and weeks raising funds for the Mercy Foundation.

“Some people clocked up 50km and 60km on the treadmill!

“Individuals, families, and children, have all got involved for St James’s Hospital Foundation, Tallaght University Hospital Foundation, St Vincent’s Hospital Foundation, and for the Mercy Hospital Foundation, Cork.

Louisa on one of her runs.
Louisa on one of her runs.

“The challenge continuing all year, can be as small as 1km or as big as 100km.

“The Mercy Foundation funds from the challenge are up to €10,000 so far and climbing.”

Among those taking part for the Mercy was Louisa O’Callaghan, from Ballyvollane, who clocked up a staggering 181km, by taking part in the Rebel Legends Challenge.

“I thought about the plight of those workers and I thought about what they go through every day. I think everyone has been touched by the massive efforts of the health-care workers,” says Louisa, mum to Abbey and Jake.

“You think of parents leaving their families at home every day and every night to work on the front-line. You hear stories of nurses who are mothers to vulnerable children and who can’t go home to their children at night.”

Louise, who usually runs 5km and 10km with her running club, Glen Rovers, and who took part in a half-marathon last year, set herself the target or running 100km for the Mercy Hospital.

“I ran around the block in my estate during the 2km restrictions,” says Louisa.

“Then, I ran halfway round the park and then the other half to vary the route. I left out the bit in the middle!”

She got to know the terrain well.

“I explored a lot of the park!” she says.

“I finished the 100km challenge on May 24. And I continued the challenge until the end of the month, running another 13km,” says Louisa.

“I was delighted with the support from my family and friends. They all got behind me. That got me motivated and even when I didn’t feel like getting out to go running, I did.

Louisa said the Mercy does wonderful work.
Louisa said the Mercy does wonderful work.

“The great support from everyone got me in the right mind frame and forced me out. The kids were encouraging me out the door!”

Louisa, like people everywhere, knows the wonderful work that the dedicated staff at the Mercy Hospital does for patients and families.

“The Mercy Hospital is our local hospital,” says Louisa.

“You think about the staff and patients in the hospital when you pass by it and you feel like doing your bit for them.”

Louisa’s family and friends must be very proud of her, clocking up more than 100km in the Rebels Legends Challenge?

“Yes, they were proud of me,” says Louisa, who raised in excess of €800 for the appeal.

The finish line is always a great line to cross.

“It was my birthday on May 24 when I completed 100km, so that was nice having a double celebration!”

The Rebel Legends Challenge is suitable for all abilities as individuals have the control to create their own challenge and the distance they wish to set as their target.

See https/www.popupraces.ie/race/frontline-hero-challenge-rebel- legends/

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