Kenmare farmers in the pink for fundraiser

It’s not the usual attire for farmers at the fortnightly sheep mart or possibly even their choice of colour.
Kenmare farmers in the pink for fundraiser

However, more than 500 farmers donned pink hats at Kenmare Co-op Mart to raise money for cancer care.

Storm Imogen almost put paid to a world record attempt in Co Kerry: For the most people gathered in the one place a wearing a pink hat.

Even local TD Michael Healy-Rae shunned the preferred black cap for the occasion, one of two election hopefuls on the campaign trail, along with Fianna Fáil’s Norma Moriarty.

Fresh from their victory in Croke Park on Sunday in the All-Ireland Junior Football Championship, the Templenoe football team were also among the 517 people who made a donation of at least €5 to Recovery Haven in Tralee to purchase the hats, sponsored by Dairymaster.

Mart manager and Independent councillor Dan McCarthy said he couldn’t believe the support of people who had turned out on a wet and windy Monday.

“We thought it mightn’t even go ahead as we had no power this morning which delayed the sheep sale as well,” he said.

However, power was restored at 12pm, meaning the sale as well as the fundraiser could go ahead.

“I’ve come up with some ideas in the past but l can’t take the credit for this one as it was photographer Valerie O’Sullivan came up with it. But cancer, unfortunately, affects all of us or someone close at some stage and this is a great cause,” he said.

Recovery Haven was set up in Tralee five years ago but there has been an increase in demand for its services, particularly in the last three years since all cancer treatment was moved from Kerry General Hospital to Cork University Hospital.

Pretty in Pink, Eugene O’Sullivan, The Oldest Drover in Ireland helps break the World Record at Kenmare Mart Co kerry
Pretty in Pink, Eugene O’Sullivan, The Oldest Drover in Ireland helps break the World Record at Kenmare Mart Co kerry

From its centre in Tralee and outreach services in Cahersiveen and Killarney, it offers non-medical support and therapies to people suffering from cancer and their families.

The service helps 800 families each year and an average of 17 per month, a marked increase from the four or five who availed of it when it was first set up. Head of fundraising Kenneth Reynolds, who attended his first mart yesterday, said they are almost completely reliant on voluntary contributions to keep the service going.

“It costs around €150,000 to run the service each year. We get €20,000 from the Irish Cancer Society and €104,000 from fundraising and the remainder is made up with private donations, usually from people who either used the service themselves or know someone who did,” he said.

James Rochford from Kenmare had to move a tree from his driveway, blown down in the storm, to make it to the mart.

“I was lucky it was only a small one and I was able to move it but I didn’t want to miss this day,” he said.

Dan O’Sullivan from Blackwater had a good day out when prices for sheep saw a marked improvement.

He said: “I come to every sale but no doubt, I was delighted to support this one especially.”

For Dan Healy from Kilgarvan, it’s a cause close to his heart. “My father passed away with cancer 30 years ago. Any time there’s a collection for a cause like this, you’d always give something no matter how small because every bit helps,” he said.

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