TWO friends are gearing up to run the Dublin Marathon on October 28 for the Mercy Hospital Heroes campaign.
Breda Good O’Donovan and Sinead Quinn, who live in Tracton, near Carrigaline, are raising money for the Mercy Hospital’s unique Paediatric Oncology Outreach Nursing Service (POONS). They are hoping for as many donations as possible to go towards the service, which allows children with cancer to receive treatment from the comfort of their own home.
The only facility of its kind in Ireland, POONS covers a large geographical area from Youghal to Bantry and Mitchelstown to Kinsale, as well as surrounding counties.
The cause is close to the women’s hearts as their friends Alice and Donagh McCarthy have this year benefited directly from POONS.
“Our son Callum was diagnosed with leukaemia last March at four and a half years of age,” explains Alice.
“He has been through an intense gruelling treatment for the past six months between Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, and the Mercy here in Cork.
“During his treatment we were able to avail of a wonderful service here where nurses from the children’s leukaemia unit can come to our home to take bloods and administer dressings and medicine, reducing the amount of times one has to attend hospital, which is wonderful in helping us to continue having a normal family life as much as possible.”
Speaking of their fundraising endeavours, Breda said: “We have seen first-hand how important and helpful the POONS service is to Alice and Donagh and their son Callum so that they can continue with normal family life at home. This is why we chose to fundraise for this charity. We wouldn’t have known much about it before they started using it and we can see now what a vital service it is for families having to deal with a child with cancer.
“Being able to deliver a home-based option to these children enhances their quality of life and allows for some normalisation of family life during cancer treatment. It also means there is a reduction in hospital admissions and promotes early discharge from the hospital.”
Fundraising so far has exceeded expectations.
Breda said: “We just thought we’d ask family and friends via word of mouth, email and Facebook posts to consider donating to this worthy cause. People have been amazing. We’ve raised over €1,500 so far from both online and offline donations. We want to thank everyone who has donated and shared our Facebook post and spread the word.”
It’s Sinead’s first marathon and Breda’s second — she also ran the Dublin Marathon in 2017 – and both have been following a marathon training plan, which for the most part involved a long run at the weekend and three to four shorter runs during the week.
“We also do a one-hour strength and conditioning class once a week,” says Sinead. “We are lucky in that we both run at a similar pace, which has enabled us to do a lot of our training together, particularly the longer runs.
“The plan will be for us to run together on the day. We both intend on starting out the race together for sure.
“We are aware that plans can change on race day and each person has their own race to run depending on how they feel on the day, but we certainly won’t be racing one another. Getting to cross the finish line will be the main aim for both of us!”
They get this sense of togetherness from their club, Tracton AC, says Breda.
“And the same can be said for our parish as a whole. We know that people will also rally around for the coffee morning being organised by Alice and Donagh. The real hero in all of this in our eyes is Callum. He remains so positive throughout this, despite there being many ups and downs along the way – a trait he gets from his parents.”
Alice and Donagh will hold a coffee morning in the Tracton Arts and Community Centre on Friday, October 26 from 10am.
“We are delighted to be able to fundraise for this amazing service we have been so fortunate to have for our son,” says Alice.
“We are the only county in Ireland to have it. Our family and friends in the community have been great in helping us to organise this event and with Breda and Sinead running the Dublin Marathon for POONS, we will combine both monies and present it all to the Mercy.”
To donate to Breda and Sinead’s fundraising drive see https://www.idonate.ie/fundraiser/11371936_sinead-and-breda-s-marathon-for-mercy-hospital-heroes.html