“My husband was diagnosed with cancer in 2018 and soon after he started his chemo journey. Brian was 54 years of age. We were together for 32 years and had three kids… He had a catering business. He was an active, happy-go-lucky guy, but the diagnosis and the Covid-19 restrictions really slowed him down, both mentally and physically. Gerry was a good friend of Brian’s. They grew up together and it was actually Gerry who decided to join the 100 Miles Challenge initially.”
“Yes, I was at home one day during the pandemic, business was slow and I came across Irish Hospice Foundation’s 100 Miles Challenge online. I thought that this might be something nice to do with Brian. Something to occupy his mind, so I signed up for it and I dropped over to their place. I just mentioned that I signed up for this casually, then Brian started laughing and he just said, ‘You stop! I’ll do it with you!’ He was always the fitter one, so I knew he would sense the challenge there. At the start, we would just do it individually, counting the miles as we go, and we would train together at the weekend. After a few hikes, we began to get the hang of it so we decided to scale up. We created a Facebook group and began to invite people. At first, some family and friends would turn up, but as the weeks passed, more and more people joined in. At some stage, 40-50 people would show up! It would bring people together and allow them to have the chats. Brian with his catering experience began offering refreshments before and after each hike. Something to take his mind off of his hospital visits and chemo journey. He would plan for every week. By the end of the challenge, he had received 54 rounds of chemo, but no matter how he felt, he would wake up, pack everything and do the walk every weekend. This project became his biggest and most important one and we ended up raising over €6,500. Unfortunately, we lost Brian in 2022; he left his event as a legacy in his name which will be organised each year going forward.”
Ronnie and Gerry participate in our 100 Mile Challenge every year. Our next 100 mile challenge will take place in April. Registration opens soon. Please get in touch with our fundraising team to find out more. [email protected]
Read more about our previous 100 Mile Challenges
This interview is part of a series of seven interviews by Humans of Dublin with individuals who are either beneficiaries of or contributors to the work of IHF.