A GRIEVING son who lost his mother to cancer and a young woman whose baby died when he was just a day old were among the 10,000 participants in the four-mile Evening Echo Women’s Mini Marathon in Cork yesterday.
Jennifer Sexton and her partner John Walsh of Wilton, Cork, were participating in the marathon yesterday in order to raise funds for Féileacáin (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Association of Ireland). The couple were joined by family members who were running the race in loving memory of baby Owen, who died on June 13 of this year when he was just one day old.
Brian Roche, one of the founding members of the charity, said the group was formed earlier this year when seven bereaved parents, five from Cork, befriended each other and came together to offer their support and experience to others who need their help.
The group, which will be officially launched by Foreign Affairs Minister Micheál Martin next month, aims to do everything from holding regular support meetings to offering telephone support, a befriending service and a place for parents to remember their babies, promote research into the causes of stillbirth and neonatal death and the effects of grief on the family.
Meanwhile, Pat Clancy, who sported woman’s attire, took part in the marathon yesterday in memory of his mother Angela who died of cancer nearly two years ago.
Mr Clancy, from Conna, Co Cork, was joined by his son James, 9, who was sporting a wig and joked he was Jemima for the day.
Mr Clancy said he was proud to take part in the marathon in order to raise funds for the Mercy University Hospital (MUH) in Cork.
“My mum was mad about the people there. This is our third year doing the race and we are doing it as a tribute to my mother and the hospital,” he said.
Friends Alan Dunton and Cathal McCarthy, both 17, donned fairy outfits with wings to run on behalf of Cardiac Risk in the Young, while one young man dressed up as John Lennon and was wheeled around in a bed, mimicking the singer’s famous bed-in for peace with Yoko Ono.
Other participants in the marathon included Deirdre O’Dwyer of Commons Road in Cork, who was raising funds for her son, Evan.
Evan, 9, was born with Neuron Migrational Disorder where the left side of the brain didn’t develop, which in turn led to epilepsy and autism. He is also a coeliac and takes about 30 supplements a day.
His parents Deirdre and Al have raised in the region of €38,000 for his medical expenses. However, his expenses will be ongoing and he will need treatment for many years to come.
The race was given a touch of glamour with the presence of ex-Six singer-turned Fine Gael local councillor Sinead Sheppard from Cobh.
After Six finished up in 2003, Sheppard moved to Los Angeles for a year with fellow band member Liam McKenna. She took dance classes there for a year before returning home to set up her dance school in Cobh.
Starting on Centre Park Road, the race was run over a course which included the Marina, Blackrock Village, Blackrock Road, Ballintemple and Monahan Road.
Funds were raised for charities such as Brainwave, the Hope Foundation, Marymount Hospice and the Irish Cancer Society.
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