Late swimmer’s charities see donations increase

The two charities Páraic Casey was raising funds for by swimming the English Channel for have seen donations swell by thousands of euro in the aftermath of his death.

Since a heart attack claimed the Corkman’s life just 1km away from Calais in France, crowds of well-wishers have felt compelled to donate to Marymount Hospice and St Vincent de Paul.

Donations have surged to over €5,600 — smashing Páraic’s donation target of €1,000.

In the three months before Páraic’s death — which came as his wife, Riana, and support crew were picking out his landing spot — the highly-regarded swimmer and popular Fota Wildlife Park worker raised €330 for the groups.

Following his death, the money pledged to his www.mycharity.ie account has surged — multiplying by more than 15 times in the past two days.

All of this money will go towards end-of-life care services at the Marymount Hospice, many of which are for people battling cancer, and St Vincent de Paul support for families who have fallen on hard times.

St Vincent de Paul regional vice-president Brendan Dempsey said the donations are a touching gesture and fitting tribute to a man who was so generous in his own life.

“When that man went through the opening into the next life, I’m sure he was given a great welcome,” said Mr Dempsey. “This was far from the first fundraising he did for us. his name always came up in meetings.

“He touched and changed the lives of so many people, even those he didn’t meet. [His family] should be very proud of that man.

“Páraic gave up his life helping other people, and he will certainly always be in our thoughts and prayers.”

Cork City lord mayor, Fine Gael councillor John Buttimer, also paid tribute to the swimmer’s heroic physical and fundraising efforts on behalf of the entire city.

“It was with great sadness that we learned of the tragic passing of Páraic Casey,” said Mr Buttimer. “I would like to express my sympathy and condolences to his wife Riana and family on this sad occasio.”

The swimmer’s former work colleagues at Fota Wildlife Park said they were devastated to lose a man whose “smile, positive attitude... and great passion and enthusiasm for the park” was always noticeable.

Similar tributes were paid by the Cork Symphony Orchestra, for whom the talented musician was the principal viola player before stepping back last year to focus fully on his English Channel attempt training.

Meanwhile, medics in France have confirmed the Corkman passed away in front of his wife Riana after suffering a heart attack just over 16 hours into the gruelling 34km challenge.

Páraic is expected to be repatriated to Ireland later this week, although funeral arrangements have yet to be announced.

* Charitable donations to Páraic Casey’s fund in aid of the Marymount Hospice and St Vincent de Paul can be made at: http://exa.mn/7m

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