10km a day for a year as Meath man raises funds for children's cancer unit

Since July 1st last year, Joe Hammel has run 10kms a day, every single day to raise money for those who cared for his son Joseph (9) since his cancer diagnosis in 2019.
10km a day for a year as Meath man raises funds for children's cancer unit

Elaine Keogh

A Meath man who ran 3,650km over 365 days, all to raise funds for the hospital caring for his son, said he got through it “one day at a time.”

Since July 1st last year, Joe Hammel has run 10km a day, every single day. He wanted to give back to everyone who has cared for his son Joseph (9) since his cancer diagnosis in 2019.

Joe, from Bettystown, Co Meath said: “I just cannot believe I have made it.”

“I’m 47 years old and to run 10k every day for a year is something I’m proud to have achieved, and I hope it will inspire others to do things they think may be beyond them.”

Tumour

He said the day he and wife Nicole were told Joseph had a large tumour between his heart and lung,“was and will remain, undoubtedly, the darkest time of our lives”.

It was the size of a melon and needed treatment to shrink it before surgery to remove it.

“Our son was under the care of one of the best paediatric oncology teams in Europe under the guidance and direction of Dr Cormac Owens. We owe so much to the remarkable talent and care he and his team gave our son.”

Joe Hammel, his son Joseph, and his wife Nicole are pictured together with friends and family who helped Joe complete his final 10K. Photo: Ciara Wilkinson.

“Joseph will continue to be a patient of Our Lady's Hospital until he is a young adult.”

“However, because of the care and treatment he has received in Crumlin (hospital), we are hopeful he will grow to live as much as a normal life as we could hope and pray for.”

Joseph is going into fourth class and Joe says doctors are very happy with him.

Running challenge

Last year his father decided to take on the running challenge. “We will never be able to repay the hospital and its extraordinary staff for all they have done for us, but we hope the money raised will help children like Joseph on their journey back to full health,” he said. The funds raised will go to the Children’s Cancer/Oncology unit, which will decide where the money will be spent.

Joe said by day 14 of his efforts, “I thought I would not make it to day 20, but I just learned to adapt and take it one day at a time”.

“I have raised over €41,000 now and thinking of the unbelievable work Crumlin have done for our family, just kept me going and I was going to stop at nothing to get through the challenge.”

He said he will be sad it is coming to an end “because I thrived on the challenge and I learned so much on a personal level. As an introvert this challenge took me way beyond my comfort zone and I had to put myself out there to try and raise as much as possible.”

He will now take a running break but said, “I be forever grateful to everyone who supported me. I have a very small social media presence and to raise over 41k for me has been overwhelming.”

His employer, Mercer, sponsored the eight pairs of runners he has gone through and he thanked everyone who supported and encouraged him every day and “I especially want to thank all who donated to this wonderful hospital.”

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