Healthcare and frontline staff across the island of Ireland have raised over €131,000 for charity by participating in a two-day cycle.
Following the conclusion of the ICU4U memorial cycle, a ceremony was held at the Memorial Gardens at Islandbridge in Dublin on Friday evening in front of 7450+ white roses, representing the number of lives lost to Covid-19 on the island of Ireland.
On Saturday, members of the public were invited to visit the commemoration site to take a rose and remember a loved one, making a charitable donation if they wished.
The ICU4U cycle saw small teams of ICU doctors, nurses, paramedics, ambulance drivers, Air Corps, other healthcare staff and gardaí depart from hospitals in Cork, Belfast, Galway, Limerick, Sligo and Waterford on Thursday.
The cyclists passed through as many community hospitals as possible on the way to Dublin, collecting white roses along the way.
In addition to being a cycle of remembrance, the aim was to raise funds for those impacted by the secondary challenges of the pandemic through four charity partners – ALONE, Aware, and Aware NI, and Breakthrough Cancer Research.
The event follows on from last year’s ICU4U fundraising cycle when doctors, nurses and staff from Ireland’s Intensive Care Units (ICU) successfully raised €120,000 for charity.
At the time, many working in the ICU felt uncomfortable with being labelled heroic and wanted to turn the focus back on those most in need and help charities to raise funds to keep their services running.
Organiser of ICU4U Dr Patrick Seigne, consultant intensivist at Cork University Hospital ICU, said people in his position have seen huge human suffering over the past year.
“My colleagues and I working in the ICU, hospitals, hospices, nursing homes and other frontline services have witnessed incredible tragedy over the past year because of Covid-19, so we’ve come together to do a remembrance event for the victims and their families.
"We have all seen the secondary challenges of the pandemic, in particular with older people, those in nursing homes, those experiencing anxiety and mental illness, and cancer patients, so we hope the cycle will also raise much needed funds for four charities supporting these vulnerable people in our society."
Serena O’Brien, an ICU Nurse affiliated with the Irish Association of Critical Care Nurses (IACCN) said they have seen the toll the pandemic has had on families.
Eileen Finucane from Killarney, who lost her 59-year-old partner Seamus O’Connor to Covid last year, said she was delighted to see medics embark on the cycle.
“I urge everyone to get vaccinated, as that’s the only way we will beat this disease and prevent more loss. The ICU team were incredible during Seamus’ time in CUH and it is so moving that they are yet again there for family members by remembering our loved ones and by raising much needed funds for those who now need our help.”
The cycle was a collaboration between healthcare staff at The Mater Dublin, Cork University Hospital, The Royal Victoria Hospital Belfast, Galway University Hospital, Limerick University Hospital, Crumlin/Temple St, Sligo University Hospital, and Waterford University Hospital.
Donations can be made at icu4u.ie.
At the time of writing, the ICU4U fundraiser has raised €131,553 of its €150,000 goal.