I would be lost without Cork ARC - that's why I am doing The Echo Virtual Women's Mini Marathon

Emma Slattery has used the services of ARC Cancer Support House to help her through her own cancer journey, and also following the death of her father, writes CHRIS DUNNE, as Emma prepares to take part in The Echo Women’s Virtual Mini Marathon
I would be lost without Cork ARC - that's why I am doing The Echo Virtual Women's Mini Marathon

Emma Slattery who is taking part in The Echo Virtual Women's Mini Marathon for Cork ARC Cancer Support House. Pictures: Denis Minihane.

WHEN Emma Slattery received a breast cancer diagnosis eight years ago, she knocked on the door of Cork ARC Cancer Support House

“I kept going back,” says Emma.

“I received massive kindness and solace at ARC House. I never forgot it. ARC House is a huge support for people affected by cancer.”

The door of Cork ARC, at Sarsfield Road, Wilton, is always open and its aim is to provide therapies that compliment the medical model, making a difference to the lives of those affected by cancer.

“Cancer is the experience of everybody’s life,” says Ellen Joyce, Director of Services at ARC House Cork.

At ARC House, people get the royal treatment.

“They’ll be guided in, sat down on a comfy chair or the purple sofa, and offered a welcome cup of tea,” says ARC CEO, Aileen O’Neill.

The waiting room, or ‘drop in’, is bright and cheerful, decorated in shades of cool greys and creams. Inside, the inner sanctum for private conversations has three booths where people can talk in complete confidence.

Emma Slattery (centre) pictured in Cork with family members and friends (from left) Paula Barry, Emma Richmond, Sonya Dunne, Donna Linehan, Karen O'Shea and Patricia Dunne, who will be doing the 6km Your Way.
Emma Slattery (centre) pictured in Cork with family members and friends (from left) Paula Barry, Emma Richmond, Sonya Dunne, Donna Linehan, Karen O'Shea and Patricia Dunne, who will be doing the 6km Your Way.

The emphasis is on the creation of ambience and atmosphere in the extensive two storey Sarsfield House which was refurbished at a cost of €1.6 million.

Currently, ARC Support House Cork is open to people by appointment for one-to-one counselling/ therapies.

“Sarsfield House, with so much potential, was deemed an excellent choice for a new premises,” says Aileen.

In Ireland an average of 43,000 new cases of cancer are diagnosed each year, catapulting people into a world of uncertainty, worry and sadness.

“We lost our mum Annette, to breast cancer when she was only 48,” says Emma, who has taken part in the mini-marathon now for 20 years — eight of those in aid of ARC, boosting the much needed funds to provide the essential services ARC House offers.

“My sister and I were only 21 and 23, and I wasn’t long married,” she recalls.

Emma and her family and friends, knowing the toll cancer takes in everybody’s life, fundraised for Marymount hospice when Annette sadly passed away.

“Then, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer eight years ago, the wonderful support and kindness I experienced at ARC House prompted me to do The Echo Women’s Mini-Marathon to help raise funds for them.”

Emma Slattery was diagnosed with breast cancer eight years ago and sought solace at Cork ARC.
Emma Slattery was diagnosed with breast cancer eight years ago and sought solace at Cork ARC.

Emma found solace when she went along to ARC House.

“I knocked on their door when I needed support and I got wonderful warmth and kindness there from the volunteers.

“I found the therapies, like the touch therapy, and wellbeing, very beneficial when I was going through my cancer journey. I got so much out of it and made so many friends at ARC.

“Fortunately, after successful treatment and surgeries for my cancer, I came out the other side.”

Emma spread the word about ARC House, the place whose door is always open, beckoning people inside that need some tender loving care when they are affected by cancer. She has held a coffee morning in aid of ARC House Cork for two years running.

“As the years went on, our circle got bigger and bigger,” says Emma, who continuously gives back to ARC House.

“Now, my sister Donna and I are joined by family and our relations every year for the mini-marathon in aid of ARC,” says Emma, from Ballyphehane.

“We meet at City Hall and off we go! It’s the same 10 or 11 people every year who do the Mini-Marathon; we have a date every year!

It’s like a mini holiday for us. We plan our summer around it.”

Sadly, Emma lost her dad, Donal Linehan, to cancer two years ago.

“He was involved with Everton Football Club in Cork for 40 years, and with the Munster Senior League too. He was a big football man.”

Donal was a big loss to Emma and her family.

Emma Slattery (left) and her sister Donna Linehan.
Emma Slattery (left) and her sister Donna Linehan.

She knocked on the door of ARC once more.

“I availed of grief counselling at ARC House after dad passed away,” says Emma.

“ARC were there for me when I was going through my own cancer journey and they were there for me after dad passed away from bowel cancer.

“I would be lost without ARC. All the people there, from the man who opens the door, are there to offer kindness, support and friendship.”

Emma keeps giving back to the place that gave her solace in times of trouble.

“I’ve held a yearly coffee morning for ARC since dad passed away. It is a great cause to support.”

ARC House, of Sarsfield Road, Wilton, is warm and welcoming just like its predecessor on O’Donovan’s Road, and it is accessible for everybody.

“The therapies offered there are wonderful,” says Emma.

Emma Slattery (left) and her sister Donna Linehan, getting ready for the mini marathon.
Emma Slattery (left) and her sister Donna Linehan, getting ready for the mini marathon.

She and Donna are now gearing up for a date with their family and friends, taking part in the mini-marathon for ARC House Cork.

“We love the event every year. It is special for all of us.”

Hilary Sullivan, Head of Fundraising at Cork ARC Cancer Support House, says: “We are so grateful to Emma and her family for their fantastic support and friendship of Cork ARC Cancer Support House for many years.

“Emma has championed Cork ARC in The Echo Women’s Mini Marathon since 2014, using it as an opportunity to raise much-needed funds and awareness of our services.

“We were thrilled when Emma and her sister Donna continued their support last year and embraced the Covid-19 restrictions and thoroughly enjoyed the Echo Women’s Mini Marathon Virtual 6km Your Way, and we are delighted they are looking forward to this year’s event again with gusto, whether it’s a live event or virtual.

“Sadly Emma’s father, Donal, passed away in 2019 and Cork ARC has been privileged when Emma, her sister, Donna, Everton AFC Cork, supported by the Senior League, have honoured his life by holding a coffee morning in his memory in Everton AFC Cork at the time of his anniversary in 2020, and virtually in 2021, where all donations were for Cork ARC.

Emma Slattery (centre) pictured in Cork with family members and friends (from left) Paula Barry, Emma Richmond, Sonya Dunne, Donna Linehan, Karen O'Shea and Patricia Dunne.
Emma Slattery (centre) pictured in Cork with family members and friends (from left) Paula Barry, Emma Richmond, Sonya Dunne, Donna Linehan, Karen O'Shea and Patricia Dunne.

“Cork ARC relies on the generosity and goodwill of the public to keep offering vital cancer support services free of charge to anyone who needs them. We could not do this without the incredible support we receive from people like Emma in our community.

“The Echo Women’s Mini Marathon has historically been one of our biggest community events and we hope that the people of Cork will come out again in force again this year to support Cork ARC in these challenging times for fundraising.”

MORE ABOUT MINI MARATHON

The Echo Women’s Mini Marathon virtual race day goes ahead this year on September 19.

But don’t worry, if you can’t do your virtual 6k on that date, you can do it between Friday, September 16 and 26.

Registration this year is as follows;

a) Early Bird, €10 = includes a race number and medal

b) After Early Bird Closes = €15

There will be the option for people to set up an iDonate fundraising page for registered charities.

You can register for the event at the new site: www.echolive.ie/minimarathon

Also, keep an eye on social media @theechominimarathon

SHARE YOUR MEMORIES WITH US

Did you take part in the mini marathon in 1982? Or have you taken part in the event for a number of years? Do you have any special stories or memories to share with us?

We want to hear from you. We will be sharing your stories in WoW! over the coming weeks, Email us at elaine.duggan@theecho.ie or fill out the form here...

SPECIAL EDITION

Next week we will dedicate our WoW! supplement to this year’s Echo Women’s mini marathon

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