EIGHT-year-old Éadaoin O’Brien is taking on a new challenge this week in aid of one of her favourite places in Cork- Fota Wildlife Park.
Animal lover Éadaoin will be covering the length of a full marathon and walking the distance of 42km over the coming days in the hopes of raising some funds for the park.
The Gaelscoil Charraig Uí Leighin pupil came up with the idea after watching the TV show Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway which featured a young boy who had raised funds for a zoo by completing a marathon.
After being inspired to help raise money through a marathon of her own, Éadaoin got started with the challenge on Easter Monday.
Her family has an annual pass for Fota and usually visit the wildlife park a number of times throughout the year.
However, as a result of Covid-19 restrictions, the park has remained closed for the past few months, though it is due to reopen to the public at the end of the month. The closure impacted Fota and many other zoos and similar attractions and with food and veterinary bills exceeding €40,000 per month alone, there were fears around how an extended closure would affect Fota’s future.
Éadaoin’s mother, Michelle, said that her daughter was “heartbroken” at how the pandemic impacted the wildlife park.
“It was in the news that zoos and wildlife parks were under serious threat so she said that she would love to help and to buy some food for the animals,” she said.
A real animal lover, Éadaoin was keen to do her bit to help out.
“She will sit down for hours just watching animal programmes and David Attenborough and she just loves all animals - whether they’re furry, non-furry, big or small- she just loves them all. But she’s that type of person anyway. She is just one of these really caring people,” added Michelle.
She described the support for the fundraiser so far as “terrific” and said that the local community has rallied around Éadaoin to show their support for the cause.”
Donations can be made through Éadaoin’s Marathon for Fota on GoFundMe.com.