Tributes have been paid to the generations of volunteers and fundraisers who have supported the Marymount Hospice in Cork as it embarked on its 150th anniversary celebrations today.
Marymount CEO Dr Sarah McCloskey said without the €3.5m raised by the public annually, they could not continue their work.
“I am so thankful to everyone who has supported us in any way and who continues to do so," she said.
Fundraising is part of the lifeblood of Marymount – from donations of money and services to get the original building opened in 1870 to the remarkable €26m fundraised by the Friends of Marymount to ensure this building in Curraheen opened in 2011.
“Each year we need to raise €3.5m to deliver our current level of services and to enable us to continue to grow. The number of people accessing our services has doubled in the last decade and we will continue to strive to reach more families and to develop our education and research institute."
Sr Angela Kelly, of the Sisters of Charity which along with Dr Patrick Murphy and donations from the public funded the original hospital building off Wellington Rd, said the hospital's journey since the 1870s has at times been fraught with difficulty and pain, and the costs of healthcare have escalated.
"If it wasn't for the volunteers, we wouldn’t be in the position we are. We must continue to take risks," she said.
They made their comments before a sculpture to mark Marymount's 150th year was unveiled close to the building's entrance.
Artist Helen Sinclair's piece, On Life’s Journey, centres on an individual’s life cycle and is designed to be a symbol of hope and light. It was funded entirely under the government's Per Cent for Art scheme.
Later, the River Lee Hotel group hosted afternoon tea for patients and staff on site.
Dr McCloskey said Marymount has been an important part of so many people’s lives across many generations and will be part of their future too.
"A lot has changed since our initial services opened but what remains is the ethos and vision of Marymount – we continue to strive to provide exceptional care to the dependent older person and for those with life-limiting illness," she said.
"And we continue to work with each person, each family with dignity compassion and respect. These essential elements have remained a constant throughout our 150 years."
A full schedule of Marymount 150 events, including an international palliative care conference on October 8 and 9, is available on www.marymount.ie.