THE motto of the three musketeers — all for one and one for all — could easily be the motto shared between Macroom besties, David Neville, James Cuddihy and Ruadhán McKenna.
The trio walked and ran 5km for 40 days in all weathers, often battling wintery conditions, in memory of David’s late uncle, Daniel Kingston, who passed away in 2009.
“The three lads were totally committed to raising funds for ARC House,” says Fiona, Kingston, David’s mother. “When David was thinking what to do for Lent, his first thought was doing the memorial run in memory of Daniel.”
The youngster didn’t want to give up sweets for Lent, he wanted to take up something worthwhile instead. His friends joined him when they found out about the ambitious challenge David had set himself: 40 days running for Daniel became their mission.
“Sitting here today, the boys have raised in excess of €12,000 for the Daniel Kingston Memorial Fund, with all proceeds going to ARC House,” says Fiona.
Daniel Kingston sadly passed away from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2009 age 25. The memorial run in his name was always well supported in Macroom and beyond, and Daniel’s nephew David wasn’t going to let Covid interfere with keeping his uncle’s memory alive. So he gathered the troops.
Daniel would be proud of David and his companions for raising funds for Cork ARC Cancer Support House, where people and their families can seek shelter and support when cancer strikes.
“David was a very young child, around two, when Daniel passed away,” says Fiona. “He has some memories of him.
Daniel was also very young when cancer came knocking on his door. He was a great guy who had everything going for him, and he was held in great regard by everyone.
“In the 10 years that the Memorial Run has been taking place pre-Covid, droves of people came out to take part. Daniel was the youngest of five and our only brother. He was a huge loss to our family.”
Fiona adds: “ARC House helped Daniel after he was diagnosed. Daniel and us as a family availed of the services it had to offer. For a time, we could park up the worry beads and seek solace and consolation at ARC House.”
The three first year students from De Salle College, Macroom, where David’s uncle, Daniel Kingston also studied, took up the gauntlet and pledged to walk and run 5km for 40 days.
“David is 13 and loves sport and plays football with Macroom GAA and soccer with Macroom AFC, training in his own time,” says Fiona. “He and his younger brother, Cathal, 12, are as thick as thieves and arch enemies at the same time!”
The three companions, David, James and Ruadhán, are as thick as thieves too.
“They were chatting together and all three decided to take on the 5km challenge every day for 40 days during Lent,” says Fiona.
“John and I are very proud of David. So are his grand-parents!
“David’s pals were fabulous to take on the challenge and go on the journey with him. They had huge support, with even strangers stopping them and donating to their efforts for ARC House, keeping Daniel’s legacy alive.”
Their mission was to raise €300 in memory of Daniel Kingston. They went beyond all expectations in raising a massive €12,000 to date.
The Daniel Kingston Memorial Run has raised over €237,000 for ARC over the last 10 years, with hundreds of people taking part.
“In 2009, 700 people took part in the Cork City Marathon for the Daniel Kingston Memorial Run,” says Fiona. “€130,000 was raised and the run has continued every year since.”
This year things were different. But the three lads didn’t let a pesky pandemic stop them in their tracks. Pains and aches didn’t stop them either.
“The hardest part was in the middle between day 18 and day 28,” says Fiona. “The legs were getting fairly tired by then! Doing 5km for a consecutive 40 days took huge commitment and we appreciated the physical challenges the boys faced, especially when the weather conditions were bad. There were some tough days.”
Another musketeer stepped in with good advice and age-old reliable remedies to keep the lads focused on the finish-line.
“David’s grandmother advised taking baths with Epsom salts that would help relax the muscles,” says Fiona. “That helped greatly.”
Rncouraging words helped too.
“A number of Cork sports celebrities sent messages of encouragement to the lads and gave them pep talks while they were doing the challenge. That all spurred them on.”
The trio bonded as the effort went on.
“They showed great determination,” says Fiona. “The lads got each other through the tough days and they bonded throughout the experience.”
“There were life lessons here,” says Fiona. “Setting yourself a goal, seeing it through and coming out the other side despite having to navigate the tough times is a good lesson going through life.”
The three team-mates will no doubt be rewarded in due course?
“They have definitely gained brownie points!” says Fiona. “They are great young fellows.”
David, James and Ruadhán have showed that when people come together for a common goal; great things can happen.
“There was a fabulous feelgood factor around what the boys did,” says Fiona. “It was heart-warming.
“The Macroom community got behind them and cheered them on. Our family and the families of James and Ruadhán, along with extended family, are so proud of them all. Remembering Daniel and keeping his legacy alive is so important.”
Supporting ARC House is so important too
“David, James and Ruadhán have been inspirational with their ambitious fund-raising efforts for Cork ARC Cancer Support House,” says Hilary Sullivan head of fundraising.
“The sheer grit and determination they showed in completing their challenge, 40 days Running for Daniel, has been just incredible. We are so grateful to them for their fantastic support of Cork ARC. Fund-raising is a huge challenge for us with the pandemic so their support means more to us than ever, ensuring that we can continue offering cancer patients and their families the vital support they need during these difficult times.”
Cork ARC Cancer Support House Sarsfield Road Wilton. Phone: 021-4276688. www.cancersupport.ie